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During its three-year gestation period Ihc Handbook his profited &reatly from the 
expertise* wisdom, and ongoing support of the Editorial Committee: lohn Polk- 
inghonic, Arthur Peacocke, Ian Barbour, Nanccy Murphy, and Jeffrey Schloss. 
Because each of them is an acknowledged expert in the fold of science and 
religion— and not least because they did not always agree among themselves on 
what should and should not be included— the Handbook is more comprehensive 
and more even-handed llun it would otherwise have been. 

We have also benefited immensely from the advice of dozens of other scholars 
around the world, who have invested significant energy and effort an directing us 
toward persons to ask, debates to include, -and mistakes to avoid, I am particularly 
grateful for the rok that my naturalist friends have played in 'balancing out* my 
theistk perspective and ensuring a uniformly fair treatment of religious traditions, 
philosophical schools, and the naturalism-theism debate itself. 

The stafF at Oxford University Press in Oxford have again demonstrated why 
they arc known as the most professional team in academic publishing worldwide. 
The initial structuring of the project occurred under the direction of Hilary 
O'Shca. The project came to fruition under the skilled hand and sometimes firm 
guidance of Lucy QurcshL We arc grateful also to Jean van Aliens, Dorothy 
McCarthy, and Elizabeth Rofeottom for their invaluable assistance during the 
copy-editing and production process. 

Producing a text of fifty-six chapters would have been impossible without the 
competent and dedicated help of a whole team of graduate students it Claremont. 
Andrea Zimmerman worked for six months researching and contacting authors in 
the early phase of die project; Fay Ellwood took over for the next six months as 
drafts began to come in; and Emily Bennett brought her editing and organizational 
skills to the hectic final phase of assembling the Handbook. We gratefully acknow- 
ledge the professional help of Casey Crosbte-NeU and jason Stevens in the final 
formatting and preparation of the ty-pescript Joining the team with her usual high 
standards was my long-time iranscriptionisl in Santa Rosa, |hcri Cravens. 

Above ail, I wish to thank the book's Associate Edilor and my fellow scholar ai 
Chrcnumi, Zadiary Simpson. Not only did he spearhead the correspondence with 
the dozens of authors, logging in some 2.800 letters sent and received, but he has 
also worked as a full colleague in making editorial decisions and commenting on 
chapter drafts. Editing a Handbook of this size is a 'trial by fire' even for the most 


indfcatfon. he h« some p«i boob <*« ™ ^^ Hossein to r »nd 

*£!£* The l&n* WWW and Modern Sc,en«. 






i. Hinduism and Science 

Sangptthti Mencn 

j. Buddhism and Science 
fi. Man Yfatkrte 

3. |ucUiin\ and Science 
Norbert M. Samuetsan 

4 Christianity »nd Science 
John Polkingjwrne 

5. Isfcm and Science 
Seyytd Hossein Wi«r 

6. Indigenous Lifcways and Knowing ihc WorW 
John Grim 

7. Religious Naturalism and Science 
MUem B. Drees 

fc Alhci&m and Science 
Peter Atkins 







viii contents 




9 , Cosmology and Religion 
Bernard Can 

SOl Fundamental Physics, and Fcli&ion 
Writ Utjgwr-Mc^pOv 

«. Molecular Biology ' and Religion 
Martina Hewlett 

l2 _ Evolutionary Theory and Religion Belief 
Jeffrey P. Schbv 

i$. Ecology aud Religion 
Susan Powrr Bmttoti 

,4. Neuropheuomtnology and Contemplative Experience 

Evan Thompson 

15. Psychology, the Hunan Sciences, and Religion 
Raymond F. Palounian 

rt. Sociology and Religion 
Richard fenn 

17. Anthropology and Religion 
Michael Lambtk 



18 Contributions from the History of Science and Religion 

19. Contributions from the Social Sciences 
Robert A- Sc$al 







in. Contributions from (be Philosophy of Science 
Robin Collins 

21. Contributions from Philosophical Theology and Metaphysics 
Joseph A. Bracken, 5/ 

22. Contributions, from Systematic Theology 
Wolfhart Panrtfrtbffg 

23. Contributions from Practical Theology and Ethic* 
Ted Peters 

24. Contributions from Spirituality: Simplicity- 
Complexity — Simplicity 

Pauline M- fadd 

25. The Scientific Landscape of Religion: Evolution, Culture, 
and Cognition 

Scott Atmn 

26. Varieties of Naturalism 
Owen Ffanagitn 

27. Interpreting Science from the Standpoint of Whitehc-adUn 
Process Philosophy 

David Ray Griffin 

18. Anglo-American Post- modernity ifld the End 
of Theology-Science Dialogue? 

NaBcey Murplty 

29. Trinitarian Faith Seeking Transformative Understanding 
f. teftM ShuUs 












30. Religious Experience, Cognitive Science, and the Future of Religion 503 
Phillip H. lvute 

A Poit-cncnpMal Approach 





„ Science and Theology: TheS Ration «l the B*Mng 
of the Third Millennial 
Mfcfidd »«*wr 

33. Religion-jnd^Sciencc 
Philip Hefner 

Science, THalogfl and Mine Actio* 
K Q^tumPhysits^dthemeolosycrNon-Interv^UoT^ 

Objective DiviM Action 
Robert lohn Russcii 

35. Theologies of Divine Action 
Vtomas F. Tracy 

36. Ground-of- Being Theologies 
Wbfey I WJWrtwm 

Ponentheism ami its Critics 

37. The Potential of Panenlheism for Dialogue between Science 
and Religion 

Michael W. Brierlcy 

>5. Problems in P^entheism 
Owen C Tnomfli 

Evolution, Creation, and Belief in God 

39. Evolution. Religion, and Science 
W3liam B. Prcvine 








40. Darwinaim 
Alister E. McGrath 

41. God and Evolution 
John F. Hatt$ht 

Intelligent Design ami its Critics 

43, In Defence of intelligent Design 
William A, Dembsla 

43. The Pre-modem Sins of Intelligent Design 
Robert T. Pentiock 

Theologies of Emergent Complexity ami their Critics 

44. Physics. Complexity and the Science- Religion Debate 
George F. R- Ellis 

45. Emergence and Complexity 
Nick Henrik Grcgcrscn 

46- Emergence, Theology, and the Manifest image 
Micliael Silberftein 

47. The Hidden Battles over Emergence 

Feminist Approaches 

48. Going Public: Feminist Episterrtdogks, Hannah ArcndS. 
and the Science-and-Rdigion Discourse 

Lisa L Stenmark 

49. Feminist Perspectives in Medicine and Bsoelhks 
Ann Pederson 

Human Nature and Ethics 

50. The Sacred Emergence of Nature 

Ursula Goodenough and Terrence W. Deacon 











^ Sd^Etl^^theHunun Spirit 
VYif ton & Hwr/h»J 


5*. Thwlogy. Ecology. >nd Values 

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53. Enriionnwrtd Eih.cs and tefipm/Sdni* 

55 wuw between JM. «»*« -* <*« Amma!s: 
Scientific and Rdipow Argument* 

NanCyH Wtowrf 
5«. Concluding Reflection Dover Beach Rented 







List of Contributors 

Peter AtMns is SimthKlinc Beecham Fellow and Tutor in Physical Chemistry at 
Lincoln College. University of Oxford. 

S«M Atran is Director de ftedierche (CNRS) at the Inslitut lean Nicod in Pans, 
and Adjunct Professor of Psychology at the University of Michigan. 

Joseph A. Bracken, SI, is Professor of Theology and Direclor of the Brucggcnun 
Center for Interrcligious Dialogue at Xsvjct University. 

Susan Powr Braiion is Professor and Chair of Errvironmental Studies at Baylor 


Michael Brieriey is Priest in Charge of Tavistock and Gukworthy. Devon. 

lohn Hedlcy Brooke is Andreas Idrco* Professor of Science and Religion at Oxford 


Bernard Can as Professor of Mathematics and Astronomy at Queen Mary College, 


Philip Clayton is Ingraham Professor of Theology at Qaremont School of 

Theology and Professor of Philosophy and Religion ai Ctaremont Graduate 


Ronald Cole-Turner is H. Packer Sharp Profe*** of Theology and Ethi^ at 

Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. 

Robin Collins is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Messiah College, Grantham, 

Terrence W. Deacon is Professor of Biological Anthropology and linguistics at the 
University of California, Berkeley. 

Cetia Dcanc-Drummond is Professor of Theology and Biological Sciences at 
University College Chester. 

William A. Dcmbdd is Carl R H. Henry Professor of Theology and Science and 
Director of the Center for Science and Theology at Southern Baptist Theological 

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Ioh „ Gru. is O-rfi^nor rf- *«" « ***» «* Ecology and Professor .. 

At Department of Religion *« BuckncU UniWSrtjr. 

John F. Haugh. is Megger DM*.** Prefer of Theology « <*«•*»« 


Philip Hefner is Prefer Emerfn* of *Mttt Theology a. the Iwhcn School 

of Theology in Chicago. 

Manincx Hc^ct. is Professor Emeritus, Department of Molecular and Cellular 

Biology ai the L >; tfsityof Arizona. 

Nancy R. Howell is Academ.c Dean and h*oa& Professor of Theology and 

Philosophy of Religion at Saint Paul School of Theology. 

XVaiiam B. Hurlbut is Consulting Professor at the Ncuroscicnce Institute at 

Stanford University. 

Michael Lambck is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Toronto. 

Alister E. McGmth is Professor of Historical Theology at Oxford University. 

Sangcetha Menon is a Fellow in the School of Humanities at the National Institute 

of Advanced Studies in Bangalore. 

Mar)' Midglcy is Retired Professor of Philosophy, formerly of the University of 

Nancey Murphy is Professor of Christian Philosophy at Fuller Seminary. 
Scyycd Hossein Nasr is University Professor of Islamic Studies at George Washington 

Raymond F. PalouUwn is Professor of Psychology at Westmont College, 
Wolfhart Ponncnbcrg is Professor Emeritus of Systematic Theology ai the Univer- 
sity of Munich- 
Ann Pcdcrson is Professor of Religion ni Augusiana College, Rock Island, Illinois 
Robert T. Pen nock is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Michigan State Univer- 

Ted Peters is Professor of Systematic Theology at Pacific Lutheran Theological 
Seminary and the Graduate Theological Union. 

John Polkinghorac is President of Queens' College. Cambridge University, and 
former Professor of Mathematical. Physics Cambridge University. 

William B. Provine is Charles A. Alexander Professor of Biological Sciences it 
Cornell University. 

Holmes Rolston HI is University Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Colorado 
State University- 
Pauline M. Rudd b University Research Lecturer and Senior Research Fellow at the 
Glycobiology Institute of the University of Oxford. 

Robert |. Russell is founder and director of the Center for Theology and the 
Natural Sciences and Professor of Theology and Sei*r*c in Residence at the 
Graduate Theological Union. 

Norbcrt M. Samuelson is Grossman Chair of fcwish Studies at Arizona State 

Jeffrey P. ScWoss is Professor of Biology at Westmont College, Santa Barbara, 

Robert A. Segal is Professor of Religious Studies at the Univeracy of Aberdeen. 
URon Shults is Professor of Systematic Theology at Agdcr University, Kristsansiul, 
Michael Silberstein is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Elizabethtown College, 
Hizabethiown, Pennsylvania, 

KVi LIST Off CQH»»w — " 

~~~~~ • fVmnaralive Religious Snidic* at San I« Sale 

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Consciousness Siud)«- 

at Trinity Western University in Canada- 
K» W iIb«i i d i ^rof^ln^1ns ri .«t e ,Bould« t C«>lo»dc. 




There was a time when scholars disputed whether the discussion of science .and 
rdigion could ever be viewed as a specialized field on iu own. Admittedly, some 
attention was always devoted to the relations-and especially the- tensions-bctween 
these two key areas of human experience, and educated persons generally held strong 
opinions aboui whether they could be harmonised. Still. Jttcmpts co make progress 
on questions or science and religion, much less to resolve them fuUy. were v,ewed u 
exercises in futility. Devoting good scholarship to such questions would at best create 
an impression of rigour and rationality where none could be had- 

Of course, from another perspective, any discussion of the possibility of science 
and religion' as a distinct field of study represented a clear step forward from the 
dominant prejudice of an «rfi« age. After all. prior to such discussions it was 
common knowledge that science and religion were at war With one another-a 
warfare so bloody and of such great import that no Geneva Convention could ever 

regulate in battles. 

Today, by contrast, it Htm hard to deny that a new area of study has emerged, one 
devoted to the studv of the complex and multifaceted relationships between science 
and religion. The chapters in this Handbook, and the thousands of references 
provided here to Other bodies of literature, nircly testify to the existence of a distinct 
field of inquiry. Scores of monographs and hundreds of articles appear each year, 
clowns of conferences are bring convened annually on specialized research topics; 
and refcrecd journals are springing up to publish important results in the field. Not 
only scholars of religion, but now more and more scientists are finding that they wish 
to explore the lines of relationship between the two domains. 

The Oxford Handbook of Science and Religion seeks to provide both an intro- 
duction to this burgeoning field and a snapshot of the state of the art across 
its various tub-folds. Detailed typologies of religion-science relations exist, and 

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curative philosophy. At »cul «*?£„ n0 £ urdcr w .y to reinterpret 
SS K ft*** «* ?« StJSSt of each of *« «*>r weld 

fte science-rdipon rcsabo-smp ^^KL bow differently the Wiot* 
rftftai (Par. D- <*«£«*£ SS52 .ill help to overcome the 

thnncs m row of the spiffs J kmMnm 

S^along process in empirical «CffeH If meHiodologica. naiura ,sm 
SES»« .o S L practice of science, what does to »v about natur^r, 
i metaphysical position? For example, do. the SuecW scene pro^d 
evidence ELzZJ** explanations arc ulutnatdy truer dun non-nalurahstie 

. Ms^ent # «** « Ae practice offence, or at hwhr in '^rc«at.on of i« 
result*, affected by one's culture, ones gender, or one's religious presuppo««»». 
£ extern anWusbeuc* and pract.ces affected by histoncal and cul k£ 
location, and by scientific beliefs? In Ac fc* of so great a diversity on both dfe. 
what shared results can W achieve, and on what basis can *C «me » *■* 

. Do science and religion represent massively diltertnt ways of knowing., ot is there a 
common definition of knowledge that both share, and perhaps even some com- 
mon criteria? Are these two spheres of activity necessarily competitors m the 
human quest for knowledge, or can they function as partner* .n a multilateral 

. Wbl a.e the JmftiMitan* of the field of soenceand-religion studies' How an the 
debates covered in this Handbook shed new light on the fundamental values issue* 
that confront humankind and our planet today? 

lust as generic diversity is crucial for the survival of a community of organisms. 
„,1 biodiversity U indispensable for the flourishing of an cccwystem. so also a 
divcrsi.v of approaches is crucul if religion and science' is lo llounshand to progress 
„ a distinct (WW of study. The careful reader of this Handbook will discern iccumng 
themes and questions. There is consensus that certain theories are inconsistent or 
have proved less useful, just as there is widespread agreement that other topics. 
detain. and approaches are particularly important within the contemporary scien- 
tific and religious context- Headers will nonetheless also discern crucial d.flVenceson 
key questions. If progress « to be made, the differences will be as cnucal as the 
agreements; we have thus sought to foreground them rather than to hide them from 

^o one person can define a field— if this ts true of standard disciplines within the 
academy, it is all the more true of a massively interdisciplinary field such as the study 
of science and religion. For this ttm Ae policy of the Editorial Committee has 
been emphatically and boldly pluralblit To the extern that readers find that we haw 
emphasised physics to the exclusion or other sciences, or theism to the exclusion of 
other world-views, or supematuralism to the exclusion of naturalism, or Christ tanny 
to the exclusion of other religious perspectives, we will have foiled at ac.ual.zmg our 
central editorial policy. The Handbook does not presuppose that there is a single 
right iclalionship between religion and 'science-, nor even that religion .S necessarily 
a good thing-as the chapters by a number of the authors will make clear Mod 
fundamentally, we have sought to represent the field of sconce and rehpon not as a 
scries of conclusions that students are to learn and meniome, but as a sencs ot 
questions and topics that scholars are researching and debating. The goal of the 
Handbook is to invite readers to join in this debate, lo add to its rigour, and to help II 
advance loward more susuinaHewncluMons. 

This goal should be most clear in Part V. The twenty chapters of this past ha« been 
gaihcred together not as individual presentations of the right answers on each topic 
but rather as paired debuts between experts focusing on .he most holly contested 
issues in each field. Although these 'hot topics' chaplcrs arc rcsearch-based and 
written by leading scholars, the authors were asked not to pretend to the neutrality 
and objectivity of an encyclopaedia article. However much the natural sciences 
may consist of dispassionate theories grounded in objective facts and data I, the degree 
10 which this occurs in science being a matter or heated contention among the 
Handbook authors), any pretence 10 encyclopaedic objectivity must surely flounder 


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Hinduism represent* the religion and philosophy that originated m India, and has a 
historical P«< covering the experiences of 'thousands of different religious group, 
thai h»c solved in India since 1500 ncr.' {Vinson 199S}. It is the religion ol 16 per 
cent of the worlds population, and India is home 10 more ihan 90 per cent ol the 

world's Hindus . . ta 

|, wo«U He incorrect to say that Hinduism ii 1 monohlhic religion. ornate .« 
diverse theological traditioruand its warm embrace of pluralistic thmking.However. 
ihc foundational textual <6*.i«i «an be traced lo the corpus of Srulu Smrtt, and 
Datum, literature. This set consists of the Veda. Parana, UharmasaMr.J. and the f« 
systems of Hindu philosophy. Vedas are collector of hymns and incantations often 
emding WMZHMK thoughts about the origin of the world and natural to gods 
and goddess**. Purana forms the mythopoetic literature, and the Dharmasistras the 
code of ethics and moral laws for ihc individual and the society, tomna form, 
systematic discussions on metaphysics, epistcmology. and ways of faring, 
contemporary Hindu the names of the Bha&nd gftd. Lpamsh*l*, and Puranas 
are significant sources for her thinking, believing, and understanding. 

Today many historians arid philosophers of science have started renewing the 
dynamic events and historical processes that led to what is called the huropcan 
EntUhlcnrncnt and modern science- Monolithic and Eurocentric viewsabout science 
are being challenged from the context of Eastern and Islamic contnbuhom to world 
science The role of China. India, and the Islamic culture in developmg the bed for 
the origin of Western science is a theme being widely pursued. The discussion in this 


*,*, docs no, ^ t^£^S^^"^ SH.^^ 

politic* mtt the central I»ue*. Sejttwve ■««*** a* an 

S ,h, priitury expenencesof ^ ' i^.^c both Mfftad 
^n.ia. fi*« h ^r^^riSSX HlWhoW differ... 

enterprises of experience ^ °< hc * ™ wcrt ivcn , a^n space. ««■ » 
I juisJuds) iradmon. 

Guidelines and Fundamentals 

* 0« of ftc oldest MVM which originated *"%££%£ Z^Zi 
religion ftat to *— cd fe *^. X^?fJiS ZhM**. 

"t^ P hU«o P hv of Hindu,,, h ftMM «• *« *^-"«* J*j 
«So the bedrock for fresh and periodic addi.ions of ^ and I p«u^ «o fte 
eLn A striking feature U*. greet, the eyesof a non-Hindu traveller u. tad»**e 
ntEtd forJ of deities w*o become part of the religion and day-to-day fifc A 
riio. even an an.hill <0UM suddenly be elevated to a divine status 
^clung th u«s of people. Hindu*™ be* earned b a Irvrng «d grown* 
£!?£ - Wto-end the dimension Of the d ; ,nc and integrate new 
JEtf the divine wtthou, dicing the order of .he rApoo, ^ ™^f 
face and form of the Hindu god mate sure that .here ts more „ta on of ideas 
practice and beliefs into the system of a living ^»n-^^^^ 
theology «Sh a systems approach that helps integrate knowledge processes «** 

pluralistic coexistence. 


Tolerance and non-violence arc .he bosk identities of Hinduism. Ahimu is non- 
injury and non-vioknt disagrcemem. The ideology behind «*,*,* b to agree to 
daaurcV and respect ferdiflerence* for a leader like MahatRM Gandhi, the concept 
ofnonviolence proved .0 be not only a political uwl but Mo a value .hat touched 
da«Iy life. Such is .fie power of this value thai Eins.cin wrote (o Gandhiji: lou have 
,hown through Your work*, .hat it is possible 10 succeed without violence even w,.h 
those who have no. discarded the method of violence, Wc may hope that your 
example will spread beyond .he borders of your coun.ry. and mil help 10 establish 
an taiernaUorsal au.horiry. respected by all. .ha. will lake decision, ami replace war 

conflicts.' 1 1 1 1 

Gandhii. translated aAimsu into positive interpreiations of equity and peaceful 

conusance The famous man.ra that influenced Candhiji in a significant manner 
says thai the whole world .s pervaded by the d<vine; therefore taVe »lul you arc 
given and never covet what belongs to another" (Isavruya Uponbhad. 1 >. The fan that 
a/umw b one c( the preconditions for a person aspiring to Yogk excellence tells us 
that Hindubm views non-violence not nodf as an ch.c*l concept, but as a practice 
capable of lending .0 .ran*formation and transcendence. India's freedom movement 
kd by Mahatma Gandhi i* a testimonial for ihb. 

The ideal of Mima, which •* hailed as .he foundation of religion by MMMvmia. 
b corwder ed .he supreme virtue by Hindu teachings. In a religious and 
environment of contending systems of thought and faith, HinduUm. which is 
virtuallv a confederation of faiths, had to dew lop rules of thumb to ensure pe.iceful 
and creative infraction beiwecn them- Wc could say that the concept of dim thus 
originated as * response .0 .he plurality cf movements within Hird u .«n Though 
Btfmsa lilerally means non-injury to living beings, it can be mierptcled m d.iferenl 
ivayv as ■respect for difference', coexistence, peaceful resolution of conflicts, rnuiu. 
dimensional pmpectiw*; '(earning from each others' experiences; humility, or 
'ecotogkal harmony of all life forms". 1 

The Fluid Face of Truth 

1T« concept of Truth has implications for episicmie. ethical. meUphysicaL and 
spiri.ual definilions in Hinduism. Snfja rS the punuit of Truth ai well icpraa.sinK 
Truth in word and deed. Ilie uncomp.onvismg cor>nection between what is thought 
and practised makes Truth a hard value to live..! difficult episiemic concep. to define. 
«nd an cxperienlbl ideal to fulfil. Isavasya Upanishad's m.n.ra says .ha. the faecol 
the Troth b concealed by a golden disc' (manttl 14). Hjmayana s theory is to leli 

■ See Einsiciiv, letter to Gandhi, courtesy of Sarwwafa Aftano-Miiller. <:hlip:««riams. 
» Swami E^odturundJi in *n email to ihii author, Augufl S005- 

IftflfftftBTU* « RWOK 

SS represents, rf *■ »*2aSt nm «. indicate the perccptm- of 
,-weati «he W«pl« P*;*' 2S« P uw objecliw en.erpnsebu. as pat rf 
3S *- «* V ^"t l^lpu^dcLnd<d a means -hat * a M-* 
nu«ali«K ****"« • The ™^ "£, ^^ and ,d«,nccd m-ihcn-t.^- 
f pr r*maland **^ c ^^S.SSSn« *«* «* na,ure in lhC ' r ^ 
pfr .. u ,,rv .n iMte 10 ««*" £ * ^ dcl ,h. According to their wotld-Vtev, the 
i« ,- 4S crea.ed by V^^Eof J^*^w*«»*?- 


The One in the Many 

j- „ h n be seen in the emu* «f the ng^t and 

4* of ^ P hil0W P hy ^ C r P ^R U ddh M theory of dependent origination, the 
and the -perhaps view of the real, the Buddh.s m n ^ , ^ cmpiric4l 

criteria to serve a* a K* fof truth, sua * ^^j, «elusm of tB 

Ration by pracrica. uulny. too**d£ at£ p*n ^ ^ ^ 

about ways o. Ktrn* ^ B « .* *? mcmChrici <„,„,■, ofmecomrnumiy 

. For mere on the MMUM see Nara*mha ( »«! 

The fam»u* VWk statement, one of the foundational proportions of Hinduism. 
U^nTh H**h« funded in _ «£ by the ** ( «, "£"*•£ 

,Luit of the «L This dictum maint-w a radical Hindu -w tlu. ,n ««r*C 

2««h in the fediamtfll of BdigioM held u> .993 m (Jucago: As .he d.ffe«n 
S^Thavi^ thei, souk« ,„ different place* all mingle thrii -water m ^^O 

,hcv appear, crooked « s,ra>ght. all lead to Thee' *», V .vekananda ^ fl. 

(V iater Up*,Hh*d* eonmved of a woild vrith mo r«l...^.he h.ghc, and ite 
.ower-par-ami np«r ft ,he world of .nr spirit and of mauer.1 rto *^?"»| 
» ca*.;7nJ go, to«ipof3ted in meuphyMcal theories in .he Ve*c and 
I^SUe "hou S h,T.- Ltonn- and ,na,u ^A. and p^ bta«aj« and 
SL,. and p-3d n„ ,. Thciatcr Upan.h,dsand t.. U*e*«#* ««hjd *» 
dichotomy by poriting a lughcr reality. |»»n or f™**"^ '« ""' 
teds S taSta the duality of matte, and spint. f«*m *** '""tfS 
Vcdimtin perceive HcHOt duabty » « c.pre^.on of r «r,nn.lrm.m ; « » 
3Ll i-The wake of euligh.enm™,. DitTetcn. "^-^^JjJJJ 
Zl, KHA T„.«r... and &*«. uphold the W n,c xdea. wnh a,phd> d.rTeren. 
m e a^The thread ,hat ru„ .hro US h all to of Hindu "-P^-d 
CJim, U the idea that God, uhimfft reality, permeate ad ««e«l H«» 
ZL'a«l hence that there is no fundamental anugon.m bmm -«jj 
spirit, .votld and God. H.ndu enlightenment * s«tng God m c«ry bu of tht mrid 
and cxpeneneins the harmony of dualities, 

[n Sivdui-n and Indian phiosophy. pfuratem » no Um«d to the form and 
nature of the god rf ones belief. The Hindu mind eranrcs pluralism as a raelnod 
S thinking id Btpecies,^ the *#***£, of J^T- "f^JS* 
ogv and meuph«ks arc nch — es of ,he .h.nkin^.penencng P*^^ 
Sophy according .o .he Hi.nlu *m eanno. be „ jKoa.ed muonal proves* -hough 
Stata goes tan theorie, of knowledge. My Htndo phtlosophy « n* 
? r a wBdom .radUion b coined by its ,dea of identity between **£%£* 
eLtenc, „and «,,. Many dime-ions ofTruth.ntany waysofkrvowtng ^ ""»> 
modes ofbeing it, ,re built in.o the H.ndu psyche. log,ca cfl. X - 
and metaphysical theories « all finally apposed .o lead to a MrtfMj^ 
.^formation of auunde. approaches, .md -1^— f 25tiS23S 
Ism more or less belicsr that the world is m ea.em.on of C^d. and ^»^ 
acivuy is not opposed .o #A Faith is no. opposed to «~ they deal 
with different domains. Tools to reaUt the Truth can ato be, em jh as 
knowledge anJ Jcv„t„n. A. the «me time, knowledge ahou. God. tdf . and to 
rela.ion (Lm] is complementary to or*'* praetiee of rd.g.0., .hmugh love o God 
Z humanity fcWWJ. A. -king feature of Hinduism as , rehg-on »I«HM 
devbe tools forcoeustence and eonfhet resolut.on. to accommodate >*»«*»™ 
and practices. .0 see a join, enterprise between scientific and sptntual l.vmg. 


«*Nfil fTHA HtNOS 


tout poift" of intersection. 

Beginnings of Knowledge and Method 


SJS« cKemtoy. mrfidK. and m ct*rgy-and <>n .he other 
S«S«*-*t „:,<,-, rtJon, .edition. TTw Hindu „feb of love, compos- 
^ "nd plonal wcH-bcing make MM for tori* M*-»« » n,«, «* 
^£^ in a cannon ^foropu^ Wopnw. of the pciion. 

First Signs 

Ihe catikft .<igru of .n taw to tt« Ac « or the H^ic stall ■ whkl. thing, are 
mad, of, can pc found in e*pre*ions like, ■**» h* seen ^f^» £ 
bony when bring bom fiotf Wh« may be die breaih, ihe blood .the soul of the 
earth? Who would approach the wise to make this inquiry? " (% VWfti, J. 1*4- 4>- 
Tins and similar verses indicate distinct meuphysical and cpistemotciucaJ routes to 

Wc could ako find an inquiry lhai leads to linguistic, psychological, and ttu* 
pcrsonal issue* with certain finesse in some of the hymm. The Vedic concept of r*. 
dose to the present-day English word rhythm \ is » result of ihc recognition ol a 
comprehensive and unifying principle by the Vcdic people Vedic sage, recognise n* 
as the rhythm behind the structuring of the dynamic aspects of the universe. In the 
later pan of the Vcdic literature [Samkrtas and Brahman**)* the superior nature ot 

« QuoUI*>ru from ihc Vedas and the Tmtttnya Samhita arc taken from Mufler U97*>- 

mind in relation to upeech is recognized. Further. TaHfiriya SimfttM recognizes ihe 
Urnitaiiorts of both speech and mind to define the fir*i principle. It says, finite arc 
the hymns, finite the chants, finite the ritual formulae, to what commute BaOmWi 
however there is no end 1 (vit 5- »■ Ah 

Bending Knowledge to Realism and Tentativeness 

The Upjmshadic theories of creation, ihc l*ioa theory of multiple possibilities 
of existence, and the Nyaya theory of action fulfilment try to bend a structured 
concept of knowledge with realistic caution. Major schools of Hindu thinking deal 
pensively with Ihc means ipramaana) of knowledge {pratfut) and validation (proa 
iruunvu). The concept of (Manama could initially be interpreted as a theory of 
knowledge, of ascertain^ knowledge. Bui its function will not be completely 
understood without taking into consideration two charactcriM" features of know- 
ledge as perceived by many of the classical schools of Indian thinking. These two 
characteristics abhiidhita&a, of non-contradiction fc and dnudhipmtm.v( novelty. lay 
down the condition for validating knowledge (Hiciyanna 1975). A knowledge state 
ment is of questionable validation if there is another knowledge statement that 
contradicts the claim of the previous statement. Not being; contradicted by another 
statement alone do<* not perform the role of validation. Hie characteristic of non- 
contradiction Ls also w be followed by the feature of novelty. Newness of kneivrlcdgc 
is *s important as noncontradiction in the pertaining of knowledge The feature 
. . t 'novelty' implies once Igttll th< ep^ openness evident in fad&n 

Beginning and End of Creation 

The two creation myths in the vedic literature are: (i> tirne-space-owt creation is an 
illusory projection of the transcendental Truth, and (ii) the ajwricrice of the world as 
'other* is the result oi self-ignorance. A significant hymn called Nasadtya Sukta say* 
"Verily, in the bcisinning thU (universe) was. as it were. Neither non-extsteni nor 
existent, in the beginning this < universe), indeed, as it were, existed and did not exist: 
there was then only that Mind 1 iSathapttha Brahmana, x, 5. 3- *)■ 

This hymn tries to mark the boundaries of a conceptual caicgoriwtion of creation 
in terms of cause and effect. It says that the wholeness which canonry be pointed to as 
That one' is the ground of all existence— wr-^nd. by negation, non-existence is 
given the designation— *wi. In the first verse of Ptirviha Sukttu reality is depicted as 
Ihe MrnrPuru^.nr Cosmic Person, pervading the whole universe but still beyond it. 

The Upamshads do not speak of a unitary, divine principle that is opposed to the 
multiplicity of creation. The 'transcendence" that the Upanishads highlight does not 
Mikity an ik-olnr^o. ccchiston. Ihc L'pani>rudi< ideas of irnmtncnce and ti» 
scendence, creation and creator, can be understood only in the context of theories of 


14 sAHoetni- 

ca „ * a myth created .0 «p*» ™£^ at . in lineari .y in ^,.v 

theories- Call Sagan say* j.,1.,, ,k. 

0»orirHig»«h»h^^'«^S 4 , 5i^ Ij.^ of Brahma .wWWcmrt- 
fa c*l run f«n u- ordinary *r, and n *hu 4 gj ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ 

tod there are much longer IH w» »* breumina of each cosmic cycle, a mouf 

tauwj, » ^c cosms: tocc Pf Urd f ^ ,™1^"' ™ rd £ the sound of cmlion, * the 

,he beguming' Iflrfe^.yata LpanM uX •* J 1 *™ ^ ^ „, lhis 

STSvtag entered it, He became both -he actoal (Saf) and 0* ^«££f* 
*Ld and the undefined, both the founded and .he non-founded, the intelligent 
a me non-Uneuigent. the real „d .he un-irue. As rt-r «1 1. ^ *»£*" 
i, here' („. & 0. The deration of the Stodffit in W^U F iJ.i I -«- , food 
and ibe cater of food, ta,^ «■»* ^Wnri-inaicates ** H* 
(±iun ofexisKncc is essential!) cyclic. 

Frtfi, .he taWus to the Upanishads we find a cosmology that, with l more 
consistent analysis of creation, readies a psychology identifying .he fuA Fnncpk 
with consciousness and the Self Ranade sys 'Existence is not existence^ if « does not 
mean self-consciousness. R«!it y is not reality if it does not express throughout <ts 
structure the marks of pun 5elf-consc.oui.WS. Sclf-consc.ousncs* thus commutes 
the uWrratc category of existence to the Upanishadic philosophers (Ranadc .9«: 
2 7 o) A L Bwham »ays in his book The Wonder liiit uyis India: The grea. and saving 
knowledge which the Upanhhaih claim to imparl lies not in the mere recognition of 
the existence of Brahman, but ai continual consciousness of it ..Brahman is the 
human soul, is Atman. the Self (Basham .967: 15*). 

The later Hindu schools of pfclosophy approach the problem of causation, and 
creation in particular, in interestingly different ways, yet tied together by > common 

emphasis on lh< transformation of experience. The naturalistic tradition of Why* 
the oldesi Indian thought, is .he basis for many developments in Hindu wligioo. Tim 
mdiiioB avoids the problem of the independent existence of creator and creation by 
positing a somewhat complex existence of reality that has on the one side dynamic 
matter, and. on the other, passive spirit. For 5amtyyo, the universe owes us existence 
to the interaction of pnhri and pirrwfai. the principles of materiality and conscious- 
nes- tt is Ihc presence of punisha that upsets the equ.librium of ■ yet 
mJtni and kick-starts the evolutionary process of the world, SamMyii recogm«. the 
mutual association of consciousness and matter as essential for creation. It is hk1.ii 
Sarva-iiddlutnla Sempaha that -Through the associauon lof pmtrff) wilh lhat 
(amarr) possessed of consciousness there arises creation' iSunasiddhwra Sam- 
grahtr, x, 15-16).' Metaphorically illustrated, the lame puruslia cannot operate 
without .he Hind prakrtf. The association of the two. which is like thai of a knu 
man and a blind woman, is for the purpose of Primal Nature being coniempla.ed las 
such) bv the Spirit" (SumWiyn K«.rifa.. ill." To the question or how long creation 
subsists: SamMyn answers with .he hd P of the famous analogy: When piirWia Has 
enjoyed all manifestations of prakrti prakm ceases to act. H is like "a dancer | who| 
I lK , sfu , m dJ ncnvg.ha,ir«caMbaedlKrsdf to the audience :-,^h, i^n'^,: - , 

Consciousness Leading Back to Self 

Hindu theories of creation and cosmology are founded on certain central ideas 
concerning the self and consciousness. Hindu ideas not only about mind and 
but also about God. self, death, well-being, and spiritual progress, bring a radically 
different perspective 10 the current discussions on consciousness. 

A prominent contention in consciousness studies, which is popuiai as the NCX. 
fneural correlaie of consciousness), is that experience is much too complex lo be 
comprehended by building-block- approaches. It h possible that segregated explan 
«iom of specific sensor)- fonctions would give us path breaking knowledge about 
ihc working of some aspects of human mind and consciousness. But then, whether 
these uplanahons together will be sufficient to understand the intricacy and integral 
wholeness of human self and experience is a question that demands considerable 
attention. The binding problem'' of consciousness, which scholars arc never tired of 
discussing, is not only the "punk of conscious experience (Chalmers . W l but also 
the most evasive problem of the subjective self, the -harder problem- (Mraon aooi). 
The Hindu theories of consciousness focus on the subjective self. 

» Quotations from the Satva-iMhania Satngraha are taken from Rangacharya ti9»>). 
• Quoutioru from the $*mkhya Karika art taken from Sastri Oro)- 

Bindme expeneoces' are how physical, dhewe. quantila.ise neural processes and tunc 
lions give rise to experiences lhat are n«i -physical, subjeelive. un.tan. u*l 


Distinction between Mind «nd Consciousness 

kno-r and mind « jurt mother *«* "P* ^ion.andcomU^ecmmttr. 

rctS T> ol «*%« S. h«« AM! Up«bMk psychology pM *. 
<*lf as ihe Dure subject whi-di never becomes an object. 
^^Co7^«« fa '** which reveals by M «r> ' ««' 

3 subject ;«hich makes coitions .nd e^nccs jHWble and bene e* «tf 
cannot be explained using these. Wrfft- t*m**mk** V ^X 
Whence words return along with the mind, not attaining it n. j* n«rc *e 
« cannot go. nor van > T cech reach" 0- 39- *■*-*«*"*- £"«*■* ^ J" 


of the thinkerof -Junking, you C4nnot understand one ^understands unde^tan^ 
W (m. 4- il. The Upanishads desist i categorical definition of consciousness. On 
tins Upaniihadie style. Dcunen ronrte The opposite predicates of nearness and 
distance, of repose and movement arc ascribed to Brahman in such a manner thai 
ihey mutually cancel one another and serve only to illustrate the impossibility Ol 
conceiving Brahman by mean of empirical definitions' tDeussen 1906: 149). 

The Inside World of Experiences 

There arc several vena in the Bmfamwfii that imply the quest for the source of 
knowledge and experience I Menon joom) From the origin* of Indian philosophy to 
the classical schools and the works of later savants, the focus in Indian philosophy 
and wisdom traditions has not been on outside diversity, which one ihen artificially 

works to bring into a unity Hather. the goal has been to discover mwirivery a uiniiy 
and then work towards diversity This is the case even if we consider the most realot 

schools. . 

Epistcmotogical analysis, in Indian thought, is subservient to experiential para 
di R mv Indian schools of thought, in genera!, have one common thrcad-lo relate to 
a larger, deeper, and holirtk concept or entity called Suit. WhclHcr it is for affirma- 
tion or denial, they expend considerable reflection and analysis m order 10 form a 
philosophy about seir. Both analysis (which is a structured. ■ leading- to- the- nc*t- 
rfep" kind of hierarchical thinking) and experience (as a set of given' or self-evident 
data) are used as epLstemologicd tools in an integral manner to form distinct but 
interrelated ontologies. Metaphors and image* arc used as epistemological tools tor 
creating; transcendence in dunking, and thereby experiencing. The aim is not to 
arrive at structured and classified/listed knowledge rif the other" object or phenom- 
enon, but to gain understanding in relation to an abiding entity whether it be she 
inner sclf/no-sclf/or outer matter. 

Neuroscience, Meditation, and Spiritual Altruism 

Recently the discussions on synesthesia* and meditation have gained a renewed 
interest, and journals are devoting many pages to them. Ideas from the corpus 
of Hindu philosophical and psychological literature which led to 'transcendental 
meditation' and meditation research two decades ago are gaining centre stage 
lodav in the effort to understand the nature of synesthesia and how much of 
synaesthctic experience can be simulated. Another area focuses on the current 
discussions on the role of altruism in sodobiology. The major discussions on 
altruism that we follow today (especially in the contest of sociobiology) give exclu- 
sive attention to altruism as m act favouring evolutionary or social benefits. What is 
almost ahvavs neglected is the fact that altruism is a phenomenon exhibited by J *# 
It is important to understand what exactly constitutes the seii-spacc" thai links the 
various level? of altruistic behaviour in order 10 know why altruism is discussed M 
all We have at least three questions from the Hindu point of view: (1} Is ihett a 
rationale for altruistic expressions and behaviours? <ii> ts there an etiiotionale' for 
altruistic expression^xnd behaviours? And <iii). What drives altruistic perceptions 

and behaviours? 

The methodological exclusivity granted to altruistic acts will not onty land us in an 
artificial epistcmobgy; it also suppfces too limited a framework for one to identity 

• Synacsthcsia <aU» »pelled synesthesia k from the Greek tyn- 'union', and aathtth "sen- 
unW. U the neurological mixing of the senses. A synicuheie may. for example, heat colour*. 
tec sounds, and uute tactile ienvations. Although considered a symptom of autwp. it ■* ny ™ 
rnean* exclusive 10 those wiih autism. &rnaeslhc>w bf cornmew effect of some tultodiMgeruc 
drugs such a* LSD or mescaHnc. Sec <Mrp;/ftn.-ibr^^yna«9ihoi*> and the 
aoos issue of foutna! of Consciousness Stadia (»lM-5)- 


.acfltf.1 K>I«* * the W£*82ES J £ F |^urc by benefiting oth« 
fc, our own pleasure to a bebefrtu «™J» J_ praepW ioni*. *«n od, 

CAblcndi W«). Ftt ^ Jl hj»™^ S^teSSSl U reduced by the 

person's |«M* for .he "2^JJiSK^^«^«^ < TS 

wh ]«by .he general «lfiuc be»m« ?**£**£££ Ln from a u^l^n 

J. 1B , of ** * -K - ^ 7~ n t KbL*««ta-*« fining of 
;, by being ahnusue lo another. The "'" , bctwc „ MM lrt|rl and 

JMni-iate, «A a mean^ In £ " ^U.h« -smos. endeared .nd 
hn h.^nd and Sain. W~*M ^Jlw «*- to a larger 
for rtMR Yktarf*. """^ *?££ on«df .ha. ebbing be<om- 

^SEtt?* ;* — — — « - 

and ideas ofthcsoml good- 

Conflict Resolution 

The*are.wonWr,di &mS inH^^^^ 

i;flW*™-« imone meUphvsicai and position*- Tn*** are u> ^ « = 

S,« couSseeand experience, which is eonstiiu.ed by future poubifalw and 
S iSS^S- Z)- .« ! -to these «- pandit *»«< *££ 
3nd dcailcd du™ of fundamental e*perien<« such » £ d F le,«ur, 
Mnw a „d happiness. selfishness and selflessness, freedom and bondage, .he gwin 
Z™t po Jl etc.. takes phce. Hinduism and l« phuosophy ««"£»££ 
bridge Attt seemingly <™ contradicung paradigms, through an "P'-"' * 
self, based on systematic diseuss.ons of ffl fcWWticd In) cxpenenual. and [HI) 
transcendental issues- 

■ Sc< < h,t P J; WWJ wam 1 -truhn J . a ndao^rdupftlbKLI[-04.htn 1 l> for .He dialogue 

between VkusrvaBcra and Mai'ireyi on ibe absolute Self. ......... 

.. «f/fa i Kdl-*finrf »d ettlusi* identity tjfwW SeJf is a fcrowng, .nelusrvc .fatty 


In the history of humankind, and ctpcciilly in the new century, the domirum 
forces thai will lead and guide humanity will be the pursuit of knowledge and the 
need for the coexistence of aM life forms More than at any rime in the past, religion 
and science will be the major collaborator* as well as cwnpcHttM* in thfl common 
pursuit. Tlic primary question will therefore be how to leverage each other * strengths 
and minimize weaknesses for the «kc of humanity- The Hindu mind, which recog- 
nizes the given and the possible as two complementary paradigms for progress, can 
help to resolve the conflict by introducing a third powerful ycl 'unarming fore* 
th.u is. spiritual wril- being. What is central to the Hindu concept of such well-being 
U its soul-cemnsdiicss and the ability to give up what will be prowl to be detrimental 
and inadequate for healthy coexistence- The much misinterpreted Hindu concept of 
mora proposes I new avatar, so as to provide a sound metaphysical and phenom- 
enaSoffcal explanation for the passing and apparently real world. Maya h*& often 
been castigated as a pessimistic concept describing the qutio-tcmporal world as 
vwi,rthlcss and illusorv. The growing interest in the ideas of quantum entanglement 
and multiple possible worlds by quantum physicists might provide a wricomc note 
for the dynamic and positive interpretations of may* which hold that the world is 

real while experiencing, but not independent!)'. 

The junctions and meeting points of cu'scuKions on theoretical experiential, and 
transcendental issues, I think, will be at centre stage for Hinduism in the emerging 
science and religion dialogue*. The key Hindu pointers will include an emphasis .mi 
ethical and spiritual discipline as a prerequisite lor deeper self-knowledge and new 
experiences, a change in self knowledge which changes the understanding of the 

given, and a reorientation of ccperienee in order to allow for new responses to 

emerging situations. 

What distinguishes the Indian way of thinkulg from what sve today call the 
Western way of thtnking is the whoksome connection present in the Hindu world 
between theoretical, experiential, and transcendental issues. It is also this distin 
RuishinR feature of Indian thinking thai is often dismissed as 'mystic and other- 
worldly: The important point missed by such dismissals ln that wfa« mirrcMcJ 
Indian thinking and its guiding principle in the ancient past, classical rxnod, and 
modern times, is not the linearity and immcduiie convenience that » provided by 
rigid, reductionistic structures of knowledge. Rather, Indian thinking has been 
characteriwd bv an open-endedne*. in which experience and rejection can together 
bring about a reorientation of how we construe our self identities, so that we can 
respond innovativcly to chan & m$ situations. This has turned out to he a most 
diftkult challenge for science in particular. Because of their implications for self 
identity, the new findings in the *c*rK« of nanonutcnab. string theory, stem eel 
research, brain studies, and evolutionary biology will fece religious and cultural 


How to understand and reorient emerging human identity will rdy. to a great 
extent, on the theories of well-being and transformation of consciousness that 
we affirm and practise. The works of Swami Vivekananda (18*3-190*) and Sn 
Aurobindo I i* 7 *~i95°) reflect some of these concerns and offer plausible roponses. 


lurt ^^ ***> *«> B £JSJ2EK S!^^^ 

for greater good and I. acbeve ^jffiLU* ^ dua ' i*"*^*™ 

individual f»powabTl«8>/""" d ' **»' 
v^a. and effortless work//*!* 

GuidcUnes for Discourse and Dialogue 

, _ „h I ndian lock and dialectics, ulks about the 

Mb***** • «*•>■ »* rrjr^Mh^ of requirements for . discourse 

fourfold P «Bmtonr (-m*-*J S2S235d pSr ** ** dbcauw 

to may bring .bom rnoiun gM result* - ^ *J^P ,„ n , ajor goalK 

are elusions of •**» (****■« « "^SflTdtaS and us goal), and 
MfldwJhl Ihe reb.ion between U* *">" ol ,hc dlM>U 
adlnhn (the qualified pariicipinU- _ lhiKtiv , sidelines for a discourse u 

Tte p*te of specifying the OD,«U« and »Jj*« £ Tbcstaning ««<* the 

definag character.*™ o. »^°^~^ Lotion of Ac Awn »1« 

what it is that guides the ^™; ^JT J ^^ vrifl ri0( talk about ind 
helps Ac student to ha« a clear picture ol whatA ""Jta^ i()r ,„ cnleril , g 

*hol qual.Sed to enter Aal particular discos Tins K ? W rul to ^ 
dtaJL «Ndw . think, b ^s, fasten A Ac current *»«"»£ ""J* 
.heme Kb todSCtouW. The recognition of Ac tptitude of Ac person as piw 
STwlTio At success of discourse and understanding inrplia the ever-present 
ib «t too Zwc6 A epis.onologica. enterprises. I. also implies dui under- 
waning i, alway, fa* rdJd » Ac basic apdn* of Ac scents or phd^ophcr 
2S once again annates ** ««ntW «**»** between <£-*£* 
phenomenology. Pledge of somcAing, and IB «per,encc On to**** 
Lpounding A. nature of «tAifam can be *« tn Ac pnmal <«t of AArttt, 
T«h* whett Sankaracarya uU» about the four qualAcamns requ.rc for . 
pursuit of self- Wedge^Wto*, M «A ^ This includes a drt.«w ^«™ 
Ac ontologies of Ac real and Ac unreal, a detached m» of worldly pleasures 
practi« of c.hkal and psychological discipline, and an intense to know 
Ac beyond and la be it. These guidelines arc expected to resolve competing interests 

IIIMI U1SM «■■••* -•*-■ 

and cbrify foundational DHICf, Most importantly, they serve to KUcve "transcend- 
crxc in and while thinking' (Mcnon HX>i/t J6)- 

Thc foundalional iuues, cre&sing ihe rigidity ol being theoretical, experiential or 
tnittcendrnul. whkfl arc embedded in the Hindu religion and philosophy arc ffl 
albogt human nsind. cnnuioiunc^. and esperienee, and (ii) abtsuc sclf-idenijty. The 
guiddincs for the exploration of ihear ernhedded isSOO *rc Si) abstraetion: to identiry 
the unitary in the discrete; tiil placability: 10 have an ontotogical meaning for any 
experience, fes object, and its expaicnoen (iii ) practice: to have values and discipUne 
a* essential guidelincifor sdf-exfriontion. The role of Hinduism in fostenng sciente 
and spirituality dialogues is to he placed in this context. 

Saints, Science, and Spiritual Quest 

The dawn of neo-Hmduism, inspired by saint* and social Eeaders of India like 
R;»a Ram Mohan Roy. Dayaiunda Saraswati, Swami Vivekananda. Mahatma 
Gandhj. Sri Aurobindo, Ramana Maharshi. and others has brought to light a uniting 
force of spiritual quest. Thcii teachings reiterated ihe connections bet^tcn theories 
of creation, cosmology, and consciousncM and iheoric* of self, human identity, and 

spiritna] well-being. 

The dominant ihoughisand views of Hinduism as a religion and philosophy time 
and again imbibe the ideas and visions of its savants, who appear at different 
historical times as poets, spiritual gurus, political leaders, mystics, and so on. The 
influence of Rabindranolh Tagorc on Bengal renaissance, his dialogue* with Einstein; 
dialogue between David Bohm and I. Krishoamurthy. and Ramana Maharshi and 
Paul Brunion, we wmc iiistanc** of iM* process- In contemporary times. Swami 
Siramnda. SiwiH Tapos-an. Swami Chinmayananda. Swami Ranganathanancb. 
Maharshi Mahesh Yogi. Swaaiti Bodhananda, and others, arc parlicialjrly significant 
in initiating and contributing to significant dialogues *nd exchanges between science 
and Hinduism Their teachings and views demonstrate that spiritual exploration is 
the midway between science and religion, specially evidenced by the past and 

present of Hindu religion. 

Self-oriented thinking, nested narratives that complement rational processes by 
serving functions of complex explanations, the systems appnvaeh of UpanishadK 
Rishis and Hindu philosopher*, and their tryst with temptations and death— ail 
point to a dimension that could be metaphorically addressed as the "inner '.The 
'inner' chooses to reveal best at the junction points of science and religion. Hindu 
philosophy identifies such meeting points as points of transcendence and inclusion. 
Hinduism as .1 living and growing religion is therefore based primarily on an active 
and positive interpretation of karma theory, of interpreting and integrating <hal 
lenges of Ihe present. 


, re nds. theories, "I n "^ ffSSSSfc**""^* unforntn 1 a ' dy P ,T 
.inj: ,hchi S ««ririty a nd cultural spcufi^o. <rf towing* late- 

«&£ when sriencc m» to ^JJ™**** l« Really a****?" 0,B 

*«* for human ^f " d ! SS^ -ntal-** * ^ 
abaily to Mocrptflnr «hc «ry — ° '^ To ^ undc^and. open- 

fcj*. »- *e P-T^^S gg t h, Hindu mind. Th< polnu of 
e**. ami be on, md. ^^£"££2 thai l«d to advanced in too*- 
junction that Hinduum idenUhe* for dialog ^, Mde nti ly . Today these three 

Ldge and «1UhriHg « conscious*, ^^ S *nd each ««to point* of 

„,„**«,« in «der «.««*■ « ^opJLt 5 ,ch a join, tfptaB* «U 


ihr Context of Rewnt IntcKUsopiiiwy Scwnufc kVw**""* 

MM ami C*t*ww«*. SJiLmb Indian Institute of Advanced Study, and Kharagpur 

Indian Inrtituic of Technology. #w«7- 
Mvun, £ Max(i*7»> WJ.5*wrf&wbof***B«r.Drfhfc Mortal B*r»r^»» PuMiinm. 
NAiumnu, fc. (mo 3 ). A*™* the NBAS EmMm Bangalore: Naiimiil If**** of Advanced 

RAWAPE. R. D. I to*>. A Gmtrntfn* S«/WK */ I***"*"* ««■**** tone Bilvakunn 

Publishing House- . . ., 

RaWACAWA, M- Mjl 0™*.». 7V Sar»« S^fMrru-Sffprtii «f SrafatAKridryn. Nrw 

Delhi: Ajay Book Scrvi.r 
&GAM. Caw. <i*W. Qwm«. New York; Rarrfoni Hoa* Iftt 

SA*tW.S. KwriWWAMI (i W )MJ*i'wro/fcici*lf JUtf^ Tdfftd- 

ss mpn./ru. Myiapons Madia* 1^' Journal Piess. 
SaSTW. S. S, Sir.VAVAiiAV A SA {»973» «d. irtd 0i«| TheSwUmt h*nla •/ iwrnt A««<i, and 

cdn. Madras: UniwFBty oJ Midias. 
Sen. KK. Motm <l«?) P™Wfm» ^£knm tiara- l>ivid R>-ait New Voile Pxmio>Hall. 
Swami B00*t*N*NOA (2004). Tht Scytn HlnJu Spiritual Law. Ddhi; W«!ay BooHs. 
SW.K. Viv EK as*m JA ( w). C/«i«^ A^r»s«. Okifltt; AJvaiti Aihrama Catcuiu. 

C H 



M M ' ' ' ~" 



Buddhism isa religion, together with lutorn. ™> - ^ - of ^ Intw 

,^ concp, or ^fixT^?S™i^ - «r-- 

Abrahamic tradmons. In *? "J* ** /T? Creek and Roman modes of inquiry. 

Since Buddhism is or« among m ^^* °, ., J, * npll1y inIO My of the 
Mediterranean basin, there is «o«»«rj« ' ^ n f d in theWesLTo 
clones of rdigion, sdence, «*) ? h "^^^ J^, an d science, i, 
understand what Buddhism bnngs tolhe d abguc £»» rfj, ^ ^^ 

diarac.eri M «on in many ways, it does have hepotec, uj» jj g» I .^ -■ 


Moreover, we commonly d«m s system of belief and practice to be rehgious if .1 » 
concerned primarily with universal and elemental features of enrtence « *Ttat 
on the human desire for liberation and authentic existence (Harvey 19*: ch. S: Oilkey 
19R5: 10&-K* Gould tm- M>- Stated in such broad terms. Buddhism can certainly be 

classified as a religion. 

Sacnee may be denned as an organized, systematic enterprise that gathers know- 
ledge aboul the world and condenses thai knowledge into testable laws and p.... 
dries. In Short, it addresses question* of what the universe is composed of and how it 
works (Wilson 199*: 58; Gould .999: •»>■ Buddhism is an organised, systematic 
enterprise aimed at understanding reality, and it presents a wide range of testable 
bW, and principles, such U the propositions set forth in the Four Noble Truths 
(Dalai Um» 1997) Altliough Buddhism has not developed historically along the lines 
of Western science, it isatime tested discipline of rational andempncal inquiry that 
could further crate in way* more dosdy resembling science as we have currently 
come to understand it. 

Furthermore, philosophy, as it is defined primarily wuh.n the context of Western 
civiliHtion. consists of theories and modes of logical analysts of the principles 
underlying conduct, thought, knowledge, and the nature of the universe, and 
includes such branches as ethic*, aesthetics, logic epistcmology, and rnelaphysKi. 
While there is a general consensus that scientific theories must be testable, at least in 
principle, by empirical observation or experiment, no such stipulation is made 
for philosophical theories. Tbcy may be evaluated on the basis of reason alone. 
Buddhism has from its origins included theories and modes of logical analysis ol 
the principles underlying conduct, thought, knowledge, and the nature of the 
universe. So in this regard. Buddhism may be viewed as a philosophy, or— grven 
the great range of theories within the Buddhist trad.tion-a* a diverse array of 

philosophies. . .. . . 

While theistic religions are centrally concerned with transcendental realities, such 
^ God. Buddhism is naturalistic in the sense that it is centrally concerned with the 
causality within the world of experience (Sanskrit: bka). Its fundamental Irameworfc 
is the Four Noble Truths, pertaining to the reality of suffering, its necessary and 
sufficient C8USB, the possibility of freedom from suffering and its causes, and the 
practical means for achieving such freedom. This basic structure of the Buddhist 
enterprise is pragmatic, rather than supernatural or metaphysical, so n bears only 
some of the family resemblances of Western religions. 

While science has overwhelmingly focused on understanding the objective. quan- 
tifiable, physical universe in order to gain power over the natural world (Bacon 
1004). Buddhism is primarily focused on understanding subjective, qualitative states 
of consciousness as a meansto liberate the mind from its afflictive tendencies (KksM 
and obscurations (<mtnmi). Given the scientific focus on the outer world, the 
Western scientific study of the mind did not begin until more than 300 years alter 
the time of Copernicus, whereas the rigorous, Otptrknua! examination of the mind 
has been central to Buddhism from the start. Buddhist theories are not confined to 
the Buddha* inquiries alone, but h.w been rationally analysed and expcncntiaUy 


J phenomena arc p*»*J « igj ' teplita{e mem <«hough d ,**«. 
Z,Ll oract.tioner ri* ««**«» ,raW ^TtJl context* do lead to dtftercnt, 

SEES; p- U cd -2js«355S3 L ^ ^. .. *, 

arv d wffl rimB««n.lCM|.^ ^ «* but mat «perKnce «™« 
*„* th.t ftey «« based »«SSS*«* n0 ' ^ ,hitdpm ° n "^ 

°Tn addition.™^ Buddie wnt,„^d«.;» { , w , h^ 

^• evaluated ^^^^cM^i^^^ 
empirical or intdhcaul ' W^' "^ rf J tfed. Unlike both Western sc.cncc 

The ra«n ^Y * ** <*£jfc» of cmsdousness , and und«sta«dmg 
wtatonc wel.-beh^ prob mgthem, u- ^k*phkJ dement* arc 

„Bty « large. I" «* «*. ^T^^,,, dialog with Western sc.ence 
Wended in way* th*. may not onl jterf "J"* ^ weU a. interdisciplinary and 
but push forward *e fronUcn of saenufic ««•«* 
cross-cultural inquiry. 



^^^^^ ii ii ii *' — " — ■** " 

. .r . ™ ni ihp Western constructs of religion* 

Buddhist identic ^ f ""[""Z^JmL, While .his word rte. 
science, and phdosophy, to wth MteM«» . Buddhadlum5 ,. r?fcrs to 

o„ a wide variety of ™^ JJSEl elimination of suffering 
the Buddhist world-view and *ay of Me thai « ^ 

cudrimon* approach. correspond^ , suWto On* focu** on ^n g for riK 
perfection that «p««B» the realization of one, true po.en.m ! Ryff W* .00. 
fcLrnar, DieS and Schwarz „„). Hcdonic well-being Mdnte pleasurable 
S*,io» and mood, aroused by agreeable atottK. 1 «■« argue A* -he evolu- 
.ionary process of na.ural selection &ciliHI« such happiness m the course of 
Ll.fvmg living organism* so .ha. .hey can survive ami procreate. Fudarmomc 
SS -n .1 S EU JP P- S * arise to * a rcsuh of natural 
to primarily from practice of the kind Buddhist* call mhhmc .IW.ft 

A Buddhist Model op Suffering 

The sublime dharmas taught « Buddhism « a whole hne « ibw pnnnrd am, .he 
d «r«se and c«! complete liberat.on from wfbring (dun^l. of three 
S ,re commonlv identified: «plici, s «ffcri«». the surfenng of change and 

«2 .0 ali phy^cal and feelings of pain and *««*. TT,e i»#en„ g o/d W ^ 
rc^er, no, tounple^n. feelings, to to ^^fcfcfrfiny-d^-^**^ 
£ pleasant stimuli. « well « the ...muli uW«. ft - » <-W ^^"^ 
s imu«as b remove the rc.u.tant hapless fades, rcvcalmg *— ""[■"^ «' 
■sfacon .hat v,v« only temporarily veiled by the plcasan, st.mulus. The «N^« 
Wffirimi Rf CMiHilrfy refers .0 the state of exitteKC >" whtch one « consun^ 
SE3S» all kinds of .uffering due to me mmj, 4 „ .endenaes. rh«c 
.nclude .he th«« towns' of cravxn*, hostihty. and ddus.on wh«h , i« 
Omental source, o, d^faction. In dmr,. -he ground ,ate of such annft^ed 
nd i, ^Aerino. even n*r« one is experiencing hedonie wdl-being. and ins u 
o^ToS trough me pursui. of eudaimonic welling, in which all forms of 
suffering are ultimately severed from their root. 

A Buddhist Model of Happiness 

As a remedy to the .toe three-fend «*** of suffering, ^^f V^* 
*JZ .h^-ciered model of happiness «M4 The mosl «K4dM oj^ 
consists of all forms of ex P l,ct. pleasure that ax,sc from pleasant f^**"* 
bwtaMl. ae.trK.ic, and .nterper,,,,,! .timul.. Some o. iheK are rihM 
S uch a, me pleasure of earing sweets; some are ethically po S , ,ud » ^* ejortf 
performing an ac, of al,ru»tic service, or ukin & ddigh, in one* cMdrens success 


Hcdonic psychology is concerned the aj ^ ^^ a h 

S,, Buddhut pen* of cuda.mon.c wei bemg- ^ of ArflHu itld 

Itemed J (^"^^^^^"y^^w*^ 

reaiizing the*— «* « "*« 'j£££ ^ being. Whale the hedon fc £»•««£ 
^Mion to*«. hedomc and ^ or " ^^ „ elld aimomc weH-bong and 

mav anally interfere ** ^^^d^rshy^^-^ 1 ^ 
inching pleasure^ f -^^ 5 m lusdrilcn 

« often pursued with no regard for «h.«. B . ^ g^ £Cfilfes an 

^hchic Sf^^^^SS, from ta* in- one. own 

U, cultivation rf ^ m J^£ j£i -V be chared a, hum* fe. 
m.u K Mnthi,rc^.«uda,mcmc^ g ^ ^ ^.^ 

levds *»«" and environmental well wcH-bong sienv 

mtegrhwo^-lW"^ 'iSS d «*S fr- the cri**- of focused 

auenltoi.. and wisdom— arc w ^»« 
of ihc Buddhist path w awakening. 

behaviour and the cult.vat.on of befcmour that u ^^ a 

chcr," svcll-bcin* «l*4> »S^^iJJSta not ton a focus of 
ma „er of leKjous belief or P^ ^ 1 ^.^ ^ iai , cxp ,ricnual matter 

psychology, in the ^ «*!" "'^ S V to examine our own 

bfaaMft Ota ihc Otto hand, even if a choice of behaviour involves ditncultics in 
i tor, \erm. it , regarded a, who^me (taM if " «ds <««-*£ 
contentment, harmony, and cudaimonie well-being for oneself and others. Thu 
rriTpoUhility of ecological, sociologicl, and psychological research m to the 
ofo^hic, no, in terms of rcbg.cus doctrines or societal contract, but w. h 
respect to the types of behaviours ttat impede and nurture our own and others 

Ttddh JS,io, is taught before introduce second *£o* 
m Ug-mcdiUttar practices designed to reduce mental afflKW« «J^^ 
^ul b.lance-for it has been found that without this foundaUon. such praCces 
i be Of litne or no value. Indeed, they may ,**«* ^f^^r^f 
odicr men.,, imtalance^ liaise, « can reflect upon the tatted t-efits of 
.r,chin« people sophisticated therapeutic techniques to reduce depress.on T anx.e t> . 
or rage without erptering the effects of how they are leading their hv«s. 

Mental Balance 

While many environmental problems and social conflicts stem from unethical 
££ -cording to Buddhism most mental .urTcring is ^^"J^f 
.he mind to which virtually all of us are prone. A person whose mind « severe^ 
mblnced is highly vulnerable to ail forms of **tt* i^^an««y frusuauon 
boredom, restlessness, and depression. These are some of the symp.orr* oi *n 
unheal.* mind, and BuddWsu daim that tta underlying problems can be remed ^ed 
lougT^^t-umed mttol training (Gethin ^ 0««bc other torf, ji «*» 
tollhV! unmiumd body .s reUtively free of paia so a healthy, balanced rmnd b 

fa the oiktorien of focused atten l**«W. The «ata«* ^^STS 

refers to much more than the development of at.ent.ona skuls. More ta«td y U 

include* (. ) «™6W W-W »' "- £uUivation ° f dftS,rCS ^ ',17 
eudalntonic ,lson S -kta- P a toot): U «Mrf "^■^•^ 
devclopn,cnt of ntcemtaal ^.tentional s.abiUty and v»v.dn«s (Gunaratana .991. 
Lm r". 9, Wallace W ); .3. «*«*« M»c. tnc.uding .be apphcauon 
mTndfutacss 10 ones own and others bodies, minds, and the envrronment a. 
SS TS-ponik. Thcra W , Gunaratan, , M ,h and (a) o^« *-l*« m 
Lhtch oL's Tmotional responses are appropriately J^"*^^ 
one's own and others' * dl-being (Goleman .997, »o« ^.dsor. « -./. 2005, Naunyai 

of any of thTabovc four kinds, its ground state, prior to any sensory or 
Upt U al stimulation, U one of MO* or dis-easc. In rcspons, .0 »J>«» 
Lon. there are WO major option* ( t) to folk™ the hedomc W^»*£ 
J the unpleasant symptonas cfthce fundamental tmbalances; (1) .0 adopt me 



.mnrhcr i» internal " nttaU n .«™«.li IK tnicsourccs of happiness » n lhc 

J^ould experience ^^ ™ (cd lo £ mtenstty *ri *■*«•< 
Mi,,. l o,s«^k e u,h,,ct hem . aeconJing l0 , hc 

BucMlral Science of Consciousness 

jhe historical reasons why A r cmtt" »™ . MmiU u,v, tcchnologK- 

^c, « « understand it .n ^"^S L U -* ** *«? 
all, driven «tox rffe ou«r P ^^^io^U lWhft*»d Wrffc ■» 
dtfiatio- has never ^^J^VJ,"^ definWo „ of c^ousaea and mean* 
wh i<n a consent - ««^"J^« rf^™^ * well as .to < necessary 

J»=X£-~ «— ■ — * h3S *""" 

such a rftari »nd «tf tic- «J£ jangle natural sciences. ***** both 
I ltw ll begin by ouibung a ^** '™°"L whilc fcc physical »«** rely 
,he ***** -d weaknesses of ^^™ do 1W predic. or 
hea¥ iiv on ouanuuuvc £*** ^^^^lon felled the gtpM 
explain .he emergence of the P^^^SS WMrfr « ,hc "^ ° f 
lav* primed in hi, Atata.«l.« f ""''^ ^ b , c w nl,ou< careful observa- 
georne.ry, but his discoveries would have been ' '"^J^ cum;n{ „ ws of 

Lns of c**M and ******** ^^^ToV W« to Ac universe, 
physic* alone do no, define, P reAct, or <^»^ZL^g «*»« crg.nisms. 
Llogis, needed ,0 develop Ae,r *W ^* . ta* for defining *>d 
** „ Dan™* on the ^ a gtjtafc « ^^ ^ „„ 

also devise sophisticated, rigorous means of dirccUy observing (*«»™- 
a basis for defining and explaining -he origins and nature of ™-'".^ 
S .he telescope and used i. to make precise observations of cestui phenonv 
1 and Van Lceuwenhock used the mkroscope .0 make praise ob«rv«i«i* of 
STuvfag organs- But cognirive socn.isu have failed .0 a myology 
t^SSSSS dircetobsen-anonsof .heroic specrun. of menu phenomena 
memoes which can be made only from a firs.-pcr.on P«sp.cUve. a* I shall <tecu» 

^William lames, a great pioneer nf American psychology, proposed **&*■ 
„lo«- should con«t of .he study of subjective phenomena, the., relation* .0 
2 objects. .0 d* brain, and .0 .he uM of the world To develop rto sc.em.fK 
1% o/tbe mind, he proposed » .hreefo.d 4 ,r, W menu, phenomena shouW b. 
studied indirxd, through the careful observaUon of bebav.our *£*****^ 
,nd they should be examined ,Wlyby means of .ntrospectton. Among these three 
% Ses. he declared that for the su-dy of the mmd JM«W 
S h« l^vr ,, u-V on firs, and forwost and alm.ys' (James *9*tW>- '-j^l. 
Such as me .hecnes of Copernicus, Damin. and Mendel were large!) r .gnored o 
d c2« after .heir <fcaU,s. so this threefold strategy of lames has been d.scarded o 
.hTmos, Lt. while behaviourism, cognitive psychology, and ncuro^nce have 
Lina, J the cogn-t-ve sciences. The current means of observmg mental phenorn. 
eTdirecily has not achieved .he le«l of sophisucauon of the beba.oural and 
ZLtoL -. in .b* regard, N«s comms*. d». p^cho.ogy- t^yts ^jjj 
more than wk,. physte was before Galileo still rcta..* a degree of vWi.y 

na Th«rare' y problems in .ncorporatmg inuospecfion^a first-^rso^ 
nuSSve mode of inquiry-in.o the fmm*** of science «tach « cemrcd 
^Td-person. .ulLe metho^ Indeed. Acre have beej , «,m P e ; m. 
VVtstcm psycholog) of employing inadequately developed methods ol sell 
^£ZtL «S nev,r /hie to cUnfv general principles for 
SSiSL (Danger ^ However, these problems may ^^ 
by improving the necessary skills for making prease. relrable. tn»«P«^ '^ r 
v ..ons. Another reason why first-person M> has been »?^^ 
,he time of James is the neuroscicntific interest m .he ""^"a™ 
U ndSng menntl processes. Despite this focus, cognitive seen.** have yet^o 
Li Sr mechanism Aa. e.pla.rus how neun.1 P roce«e, generate „ ven 
influence subjectively expenenccd mental proce^ °\ C °™f^™£? 
ev,m, influence the brain. They ft*« succeeded in .denfryrng the neural ^mto« 
to srxdfic perceptual and conceptual processes, but Ac exact nam* of those 
1SL P S a mystery- A widespread assump.ion .mong cognUrve 
scientists k Aa. neural and mental processes are actually fhp s.des of the same 
r ; bu, Ai^lief ta. yet .0 be validated by either empirical «^«^ 
areument All we really know is Aa. specific londs of neural events are necessary 
Tthe gemration of ^cific kmds of mental process^- That hardly amounts to a 
proof of identity. 

B. AlA-N " ""• 

mcntalW^ «** I* ^^J^U« ** mechanism of g«vty was 
«nnl H« of ***Y in l697 ; SSSS2E Ukewise. fo, .he law, of r*to«l 

JLiort, . «MT P^J ^ ' J^ u thcori « of 6m «i« in l8 6 ? before 

Tame* V*l»n *»d *»««* L "t h f ,Lonlvdtcd as the most successful of all 
wording * q— ' h «^t"v"b^ found to «*Wn such phenol 
sdcnUfe thepries, no -f*""^ or lhe colUpse of probable wave 
as non-locality. *r unccrumty pnnopte »r 

functions. , .._. ^ ever be found to tXftoaa the causal 

„ b qul ,c possible that » ■•*— ££2 * is .fiould no, del* scientists 

and the t^riBh-certurr revohmon of rc '^' V, h Dirwul ^d culmin- 

Iogl£al fences ^^^SSS^£SSL «**** «• similar 
.ring to the Human Genome ^°* ™ ^ J ^^ Th * basic assumptions 
radical shift in their understanding f mmd or eons* ^ ^^^ 

-bo-^^^^^j^^^^ this da, Although great 

consciousness itseu. ...^...Un in ihc cognitive sciences, 

D cs F ,,c the West. <*» ,o ^^^^ST^^tio^ the 

enerienfe! explorations, he «me to the condustom The mind ttai « — 

pursu.t of knowledge Ml <he recognition and "-f^^SKS 
Union of data through observation and exoenme * "^ «6 mu turn aud 
testing of hypothec" (Waters Mm* /tor Grille Plenary). "there nntn 
tot in that definition that insists on third-person obscmuon or pN«" 
2hl -P-ci-llT R» phenomena that are .rredueibly b*pci«» in nature 
I.Seirlc 1994). 

The Psyche 

Dmved from exactly this kind of exploration, three dimensions of «>»«" 
^ be posited on the basis of contemplative writing* common to the Mahayan- 
Buddhist tradition (which emerged around the beginning of the Chnsuan cr^Thc 
first of these is the psyche (rJ.irm.-the whole array of conscious and uneonscou 
SS process* ttSSt from birth to death. In Buddhism the pnmary teason for 
exploring the psyche is to identify and learn to overcome the m^-a 
processes that generate suffering internally. This is the centra) theme of the Four 
Noble Truths and the Buddhist pursuit of liberation. 

A thorough understanding of the human psyche must mclude msight w.o 
Us origins. The vast majority of contemporary cognitive scenes assume, often 
l^tioningl, Illat the brain is solely responsible for productng all mental pro- 
2Tt*c uniformity of this view is remarkable in light of the fact that sciences 
have "yc to identify the neural correlates of or its necessary and 
Efficient causes (Searle .N* 49- 5 o: Searlc ,004: utf). Researchers ,n the field of 
artificial intelligence q»es*Hl wither a carbon-based lb* ts n«^J*» t 
generation of consciousness, and mere is no science consensus ^ re^rd ^ ^ 
sufficient causes. The belief that the brain is soldy responsible or al « tes of 
consciousness stems immediately from the ^^1^^ 

Theology dominated and constrained mtdlec.ual Ufe die time of Gahleo 
(Wallace 2000). 

Substrate Consciousness 

TWgh the development and utilization of h.ghly ^^W«^£ 
wMdh remam unexplored by sdence, contempUusvs ^ the Great Pcrf c. wn 
, Crtoffhc, > tradition of .ndc-Tibetan Buddhism claim to have discovered a s cond 
dSsion of conscious a continuum of "f^T* ^JTZ^l 
precedes this Bfc and continues on beyond dolb. they call the mtotrote 
c ZLL (^.vi^,) (Wallace , W 6: ch. z* Dudjom «"^ -^^S 
Wallace ioo«; 77-* and .64-*). This relative ground state of the nund is hantctenz.d 
I ffitec qualities: Hiss, luminosity, and non-concep.ualit, U is mostly a PP e- 
Lded by meditatrvely enhancing the stability and vrv.dness of at.ent.on. but .1 
naturally manifests in deep sleep and in the dying process. 

The human psyche, the first dimension of consoousness ment.oned above 
Jlcs. they conclude, not from the body but from this underlying stream o. 
orSousne, that precede, spedes dmeren^on. Whi!e the body ***»« «he 



ita ui i, nor is l« amp* a J"jSc ™£itf*. ho-ver, in*, <£* menu! 
contemplative* «e concerned- S "f * C . ™ much „ blle j* secreted from Ac ^ 

observed by any objective, fdwnfic 

sumption, no. an published saetm 

ndjgjous fnith or philosophical *P«« 

concn^d may be *n experkntially '"^Mdbita^^ **"«" ,bat "" 

far as «ci«iist3 in tK" West arc 

East- The demarcation betw 
and cannot be h»i«l empirically— is 
not Nature at God. i,«,wn confined laree.y lo the exploration 

•Vtaute^P-lclid i«|»^ %* nm ^r^^S« ^ Ac instruments of 
f Ore objective ^rld by ** rf . w J" ^l^t the, neural and b*V 
«**** Mental phenomena ^T^^^ ***** $* «> ^ ** 
toard»tl^ft««^fc«°"^^^ |S regardins the definition of 
cognitive scientist have yet M «°me to a consen " S E J £Cof<onM:iousneM 



.herefore remain m the dark regarding the ^ ■ lrT edueibly first-person 

.Sous** A" A,s suggests 4- -«> *SSS3S»«««Es« 

S **■ mind * t0 '"^ fc ^f * * to including 
A major reason lor the re*ui« °" the pan **»">* "." quint£SScW ja!ly 

ia ^«->^"^fri t dn2S^or hand, £ 

with the Aird-person methods of me cognitive soencet m ways that ma) expand u» 
L Af iww nf both scientific and contemplative inquiry. 

consciousness beyond death. * **t » direa kno^gc of the- p ttcrns o «- 
relationships enacting multiple HUM (N**™* • W* *£*J322E 
such report are not confined to Ac testimony of one wdmduaL From a A.rd-person 

perceive, all such discoveries based on tarospeewe mqu.ry «-""**" 
SSL. have W of their validity- As such -hey arc m«Mc o, 1 - 
privileged few. but this ha* always been true of many of the most profound »entrtic 
EThTTuto *Ctt» of training 10 be*** . qwliBed 'third person capable of testmg 
SS Lcdd^coverici in any advanced field of sonee. They have never been 

ake on faiA Ac Cai.ns of Aeir church. The Buddhist training m ««* «v»d 
, ^ cvpenentia. access ,o .he subMrate may easily take ^^^ 

coLirable to Ac time quired for graduate «ofk m ^aencc-and unnl now. Wdl 

professional training has never been avaibble to sctenusts. 

Partkularlv in the Tibcun Buddhirt .radition. for cen.une, .here ha been Veen 

JSXSSS4 CWW^ 1*0 were al^dty -omplishcd -ed,U.ors and 
«chers in their past l.vrs. TWs b» commonly been done by seekmg out eh.ldren 


instant has also begun (Stevenson W7 >. Mo S l cogmtwe sc.ent.5ts have retused _ to 

cousider any Aeory of reincarnation, insisting that it canno, belong .0 . soentific 

""vS: AerTdoes not appear .0 be any neuroscietuiftc means of *%«**** 
JS Aat the b.ain is necessary for all «a,csof consc.ousness, few ««fltb^.« 
2£«d concern ove, the non-scientific nature of Aeir fi, n dament^ assumpuons 
ZuTac mind-body problem. SimiUtiy. the BuddhU. hypoAes* of Ae substrate 
conSousn" does not easily lend itself to scientific repudianom but sewn Ac 
ll^siA a suspension of disbelief, should fir* be directed to «^-^hcAer 

Z^ C «5E ^ ***« ™^»* 3W WhC,her I"? T"! field 
^direct evidence may be provided by third-person '^J^£*°££ 

^dies of Ian Stevenson and his scientific successor ,m Tucker J^^JJ* 
TaL. objective took of observation of sc.ence provide no .mmedute ac«ss to any 
S of phenomena, so they are no. likc-Jy to ^eal any ev,dcn« ^faMhc 
Xratc conscousness. This «n core only from rigoro^ first-person meAod 
suS Z Those proposed bv the Buddhist tradition. I«« as the exrstence of Ae moon, 
of lupT, r«n L verified only by Aose .ho g* Arough a .e.escope so Ac exts ence 
o subtle dimensions of consciousness en be venfied ^™^°*.^* 
willing to devote themselves ,0 y™ of rigorous auenuonal ^^J^mZ 
,0 such refinement of attention is no, eonnngen. on Keeping Ae hypotheses 
Buddhism or any other comemplativc tradi.ion beforehand. 

Primordial Consciousness 

There is yet a Aird dimension of consciousness, known as V'™ tdiii < ^™™Z 
,;»„,„>. OT Ae Buddha-natui* ( ^A.») (B^gS ^9= Thrangu Rmpoche , M 3. 

B. M.** 


u,rim..e pound state *«2~£J£, exigence and non-existence. Ths 

force «*^^SK52T5 " f Wd, - Wn » ** repreSCn,i 1 
culmination of the Buddhisl pursuit °' * tounderM .,nd not only the nature 

^ W*-*^*^«£X£^ This raises Ae .* 
of consciousness, bu, abo to JJ^^JS - preceded by Ac mini When 
, S onLshing ^^ ^; eB t^Tn 11 KcK Bybringing Ae m.nd 
the mind is comprehended. aU rhenon en ^ ^^ I96l; «). 

u-derconwl^^^^^ 5 ^ 1 ^, basis for u,e other two 

This primordial consume* «. «^*™ OB from ils ...dividual 

dtaKtrio* ^f-^^^SSJSiSuS. emerge ultimately 
substrate consciousness, ail Streams <" s-JSvieTualih The substrate con- 

front pnmordinl -**-«* «fc* ^^^S^cd stage* of 

sctawess can allegedly be BcattUKd with the adn* «me 

*™dh, whereas primordial consc.oumess ca b« rri «d «.£ W S 

va«on of contemplative^ 

5^S— SSSSK S— connive - 8 Cp« 

X aU s tates of Conines*. Such scientists commonly assume thai Acy 
a^.sttal consciousness ha, no existence a^rt from Ac br*n.*> the on* 
^irbTsolved * *0» the brain produce conscteU. state, Neurons, 

undersund conscious, declares. "Und^andrng "^^^"S,* 
no Aing about Ac origins of Ae unive*e. A, meaning ol 0M> £ ^gSJ 
of both" ( Damario .**: a». TO. assumption is an instance of what h.stonan Dame 
JSJita. an in of knowledge". [« is such illusions. *£££*£ 
mere ignorance, thai have historically acted * Ae greatest impediments to scientific 

discovery (Boorsiii. 1^5: P- * v )« , . aw j 

Prospectively, were Ac Buddhis, theories of Ae substrate «'«""«»* 
prmvmlia. conscious and Ae practices for realizing euda.mon.c w«W«&* o 
be introduced mm the realm of scientific inquiry, radical changes might occur m 
both traditions. Buddhism, like all oAer religions, philosophic, and sciences. U 
prone 10 As they encounter the empiricism and scepticism of modern 
science and philosophy, contemporary Buddhis may be encouraged .0 take a fed 
look K their own beliefs and assumptions, putting Aem to live t»t. wherever 
possible, of rigorous Aird-person inquiry. Buddhist societies have no-er developed 
a nenec of the brain, nor any quantitative science of behaviour or Ac physical 

world, so ils understanding of Ae human mind may be enhanced by close coUabor- 
ation with various branches of modem science. 

■I .... cawmei bettweii the cognrti^ ■ ideates nod BurtflwMn nd oAh wnmn 

nUtive traditions may aLso bring about deep changes in Ae scientific understanding 
„f the mind. One possibility is thai the first revolution in the cognitive sciences may 
result from Ae long-delayed synthesis of rigorous first-person and third-person 
means of utv.Mig.umg a wide range of mental phenomena, TOs would be the 
fulfilment of William James's strategy for Ae scientific study of the mind, which 
has been marginalized over the past century. This revolution could be analogous 10 
Ae emergence of classical physics, culminating in ihe discoveries of Isaac Newton 11 
we speculate- further into Ae future, we may envision a second ,evolut,on in the 
rocnXive sciences emerging from Ae study o/.md with individuals with exceptional 
mental skills and insights acquired through sophisticated, sustained contemplate 
training This might parallel the revolution A physics in Ae early twentieth century, 
which challenged many of our deeoeM assumptions about the nature of^ space, tunc 
mass and energy. Such revolutions in Ihe cognitive sciences may equally challenge 
current scientific assumptions about the nature of consciousness and .is relation to 
the brain and Ae rest of Ae world. 

A Return to Empiricism 

A reasonable scientific response to the above presentation of Buddhist v*ws on the 
nature of eudaimonk well- being and Ac three dimensions of consaousness is one of 
open-minded scepticism. But ,udi scepticism should be equally A reeled to ones 
own beliefs, which may be Elusions of knowledge" masqueradtng as sc.ent.fic facts. 
Richard I eynnun wonderfully esp.csscd Ais idoJ of seu-ntirk sc<pt>e*m thus: 

ChK of Ihe ways of stopping sewnce would be only to do experiments in .he region where you 
£T!h! Su, cxpTnmenters search most dil*** ^^^XZll 
.hose pUc« svhere ,. «cms DOSI likely Aa, we can prose ou , theories wrong. In «r« word. 
v!Hre trying .0 prove ou^Hve, wron S a. quickly .> pOfsMc. because only ut Aat way can we 
find piwca. (Feynmarfc 19SJ: 15a) 

Buddhism. 10c, expresses a comparable ideal of scepticism. The Buddha is recorded 
as having said- Monks, just as Ac vise accept gold after testing rt by, culling, 
and rubbing il. so are my words to be accepted after examining them, but . not o„ of 
respect for me" IShasm .968: k. 35*7>- The Dalai I Jti» ma.mams . Jw ******£ 
spirit of scepticism when he writes. "A general basic stance of Buddhism is Uu, il is 
.nappropriate 10 hold . view that is logically inconsistent. TOs.s taboo. Bui even 
nurT taboo than holding a sHew that is logically inconsistent is holdmg a vtew that 
goes against direct experience" (Varela and Haywaid 1991: 37). 

nft5 , but Know c*j«n ri^nu. Kpeued *«*■ , cdict i 0n . How- 

hypwh-romul on (o j, bran d,« of «".. ^^ „ aU the 

Imergit* from *< '«»"** TS wspii methodologies are tntegratcd tn 

unprecedented «»p. ** * f°SSm of everyone. 

SUc .noda M » ^^ r ^ wwn .heistic religions. v*Kh 

Buddhto is also f*f «-^J J ^ «,«*"«) « ** ul,ima, < ■"T 
^.d God <»^S«S indc^Vf human open***) a> 
^-^^'^!S^S33S3to .h« God can be known only 
ta ulwnalc authority. Whfc """^^j, ^ mtny scents chin, lhat the 

mind on be »«rifc* -"*1°*; f£ T he genual range of -media* 
behaviour, Buddhist ^^^^.tLlta.WtoduIknffhcKfc 

HperK n« b h ^tT;^^ *» thtix ^vc black boxes 

to retrieve ibIkms and pnjs« ., ri „ htnJ ll K belong. 

Md return them .0 the world of ex P^^j™ XsZc* of religion that 

^ccn scientists and religious believer*, a*d might evenly command pubL. 
£L. ccn^blc «o ftu present granted .0 the natural socn ces. condudc 
this chapter whh James's change to restore a true spmt of emp.ncsm to both 

religion and science: 

religion mu >t*n*Lt. 

Ut tmpmasm once becon* usodated wiili religion, as hitherto, through some strange 
mi M dmtaDdiB& i< hasbeen associated with irrdifiion, and I believe thai * new era of region 
u well « phflmophv will be ready to begin ... i fully believe Jut such an empiricism * a more 
W (uraUTl>-ihandi:u>cna^ C lames 1909/ W^ W 

References and Suggested Reading 

Bi*u*jum. £ (1988). Detent Afeftuat* of Zen Meditation. Berkeley: Univrrsiry of California 

806UTIK. D. ). (198$). TJir Discoverers: A History of Man's Search to Know His World and 

Himself, New York: Vintage Books. 

BronkhORST, I. (1999)- W&y is there Philosophy w India. Amsterdam: Royal Netherlands 

Academy of Arts and Sciences. 
H. H- the Dalai Lawa (1097)- ^te Four Afol* IhrnVK Fimdamrnidi* of Buddha* ttncbqgt 

London; TTiorsorH. 
(iWW ). DtophcTr. The Heart Essence of the Gmt Perfection* trans. Gcshe Thuptcn Hnpa 

and Klchard Barron. Ithaca. N.Y.: Snow Uon PublicAtion*. 
Damaskx A. (1999). TTri- freimj 0/ What Hapj**: ft^r «« B«ii« m the Mohng of 

Conwjoufiesj.N , cw York: HaKoun, Inc. 
PAH7.1GRR. K. (is«o). 'The History of Introspection Reconsidered, kurmt of the History oj the 

mviDSOK. R. E»:ma N . P.. RiCARD. R.. and WAtwcjt, B. A, (M05). Buddhis and 
Psychologieal Perspeaives on Emotions and Well Being. Om*t Pirectwns tn Psyelwlogkrt 

o£rL«^ww)- Tlur Vajm Essence: From the Matrix of Pure Afypeamntes and 
Primordial Cpmchusriesi. a Tamra en she Stif-Qnginntmg Atofwe of Existence, tran*- 
a A Wallace. Alameda. Calif.: Mirror of Wisdom Publications. 

FbiwMaN R. R (19*j). Hw C/idmcrer of Physical Law, Cambrictgc. Mass.: MIT Pres*. 

Gft'hin, R. M- 1. UoniX 77te Buddhist Mh to Awatomtg, Oxford: Oneworld Publicaiiom. 

Gu-KEY, L (1985). Crcarionism on TruiL Minneapolis: Winston Prew. 

Gdlcman. D. (199?) (ed.). H«iin5 Emotions: Commotions with the fXito toftf o» Mmd/i* 

ne». Ei^ortwB, and Health, Boston: Shambhala PubUGations. 
— (urn). Ctoiracrivr frridiio/u: A Scienii/ic Dvbgu* *bh rhe Data* lama. New \orlc 

Goutts S. I. U999). *** 0/ Ask Scien« <«iJ WijjiPn i« *Ae Fu/lrvss ./ U/e. New York: 

Ballantine Publwhing Group. 
Gouamtama, H. (iS9i). Mr«#Ai«« in Plain English. Boston: Wisdom Publications. 
Harvey V (19S1). The Historian atrd the BrTtem Philadelphia: Wrsirninsier Press. 
Tames, W. (iB9o/i95o). The Pnncipfes of Psychoid Kesv York: Dover Publications. 

(1892).* Plea for Psychology as a Sdcnce. Wlcw^^f Revinv; 1: u<HJ. 

(,902/1985). Tlie Varieties ofRdt$tous Expcricnee: A Study m Human Nature. New York: 

Tl, 77 ], A Pluralistic Vnbme. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. 
bMfSSZk DiBSER. L. and ScwfAtt. N- M <eds.). IWk^ ^ r,mtor,« ./ 

HcJomc PsjWi^ W Nesc York: RusseU Sage Foundation. 
Kamawsila (195*)- Flrw Bh^mkranm. in G. Tucd (ed J. Minor Arfft* Texts. Airr JT. 

Rome; Istituto iuliano per il Medio ed Esiremo oricnte. 

K,hm. Chasm* <.**>. ^ ^««« »«* « H«*«* ^'V wTTk " n y"' S 12 
A^nWrA ««/ Atqtvt. eomm. Gya.rol Rinpcchc. trans. B. A. \*al!a«. Ithaca. N.Y.. Snow 

Lion Publication*. ,, , - 

Umumpa, G. l,9»). Citelnj «»« MS*fc 77b«. n B U ddf.«( r«*duiw«*« CW«.«««" «^ 

M^wrae 0Hk«rnc f . t»ns. B. A, Wallace. Ithaca. NY. Snow Lion 
HUHIU, D. K. (»»6) led). BuJdhhi Thought and Applied Psychology. T«mca*ng «'« 

Boundaries. London: Routledge-Curton. rWjnm . fa ,, 

HiEDHAU. I. (1956). SdoKt and GrUmtien in Ouna, .: Immhuury Onerna,^ 

Cambridfte; Cambridfce University Press. A,«^i««t*. 

N^namou. B. (rwik TOr trfr ofthf BW*ft« ^fford>n S rt Ihr P«r. Otnon. Kandy. Sn Unt». 

Buddhist Publication Society. 

NYANAFQN.KA Tm«a (if** The Heart «■/ IMtftiS tf-fi-oo* Nc- York: Samuel 



i ra^torr Mwr^mbfeon* TeaMnp en ihr S« *.rrf«, 
cwnm. <*•»» "^P 8 * 1 *' "?'" u;^ Zd I* PW*« tf Gr*tata« m - Om^nr 


Sum. MtlW ^^Ci Cw*«i»c C»*rid»e IMk| * 

1 .. ^^™ ^T^ Ncw York: Oxford LTivcrAy Pl« 

x^^r^^^s^ ***** >* - ■*—* l [,w 

Vim* F. I. W* H«w£>. I- own* ^hUh^U PABc-teW. «*l- 

Wiley & Sou- . . n^ion. Whai! Tuewn 2*m: 






__ . r- 

TW»««y on tb« n>k of science in Judaism *ffl use ^^'^T^^ 
SJ^Sr, to** 'oe-W. revelation', -redernpnon' God «*. huwmty. 
', JXLicm. philosophy. and "science" Let me briefly optam ,«£ 
rudrism b the formal expression of the faith of .he kwiA p«pk fa*. * «J* 
fa, ES oL ZJ<*» years *■ ^ fe present. ThnH.^»u. u^t^W 
L P co P £ hved in different places as a MjWi* t^SSSSt 
M a minority, every aspect of iU ifc, induding its bends, has beer »A^"J«£ 
ta u32 and .he pas. of fa dominant hos.. Sine, times, place,, and people* 
■ . u, %»„Z sn do the Weft cxprewd in the worshipping commun.ty of the 

Christianity -shan, a common textual origin, much of what they ? J«£S Bfc£ 

.««. religious terminology. ^«^^^.^?5S^ 

a. leurt the d* mo yean has been in Western European Chmuan civttolion. Hence 


Sopmcn. of lewish philosophy and theology drd not «m » Ojjuu, JA 


KO Mm.T»MA«w^ 

, ^^ reserved for a spinal elite. All that a 

t0 Christians. P«'^ ffltJ ,t TaT J-^« distinct way in wh.chjhe mo* 

«,te need do is be ^ ^ " J^l^^.ncc ^Vl.jdort-li.rrbcuiguscd. 

•mtttnafalthis 1 ndU ^S5ST-SS* the relationship between 

n ,ere « three h^ ^;iVnSrrA»n^Mn.hcreli g ionon S «cl 

P*. and ««oce &* T- nod , ,S ~S, C £, period It .heone recorded ,n the 

L^iite-*-!«2S3t3S2ta 3C ^ term 'religion' here 
canontod Hebrew Senates and he an « .^^ refcrs to , 

**^*^**££2^***i one is Stoicism. The 
mature of HeUc ««^ •^*S^ ioi | biblic! commentaries and 

«cond period b ^2 ~"2 , ;5£ m /tenth century- m Muslim lands 
v *«ctict« S .lw.crf «hc«*l - , hT|slilI1 Europe unlll to 

and con*.** through *e nibtn who h en ^ ^^, fe ^ 

^ ol d 1 cmiddleofti 1 cn.ner«nlbeen»rv InU. J ^ ^ rf ^ 

generally in more or less .u m ^ era ,^^ fropl Sparable area of life 
5 Wief .Ha: .^ (but n« 5-223ESS; rabbi ££*»*« 

"dbeKcfcdied-seculanH^rv^.U^e^ dicnotomy . thai is pre- 

^ Itt «1£SSS M-onid« (Ndtt century «. b ** 
""K fe^^enc refers W . complete philosophy of life known as Wott- 

a„<i Ronun schools ( notably Phuonfats. Epicureans, and Stoics), as those tcxls woe 
SEmXS Mu.vlims, who themselves "^ .rations a nd e.mrnentanes by 

in which the use of the term "religion ha, been determined pn manly by English and 
Za OW. prober* against the Roman Cfltolk Church, and the term 
'science' reflects a piooeu ->l specialisation marked l.y natural dial are 
called 'mechanist* < notably with reference to Rene Descartes), 'mathematical (not- 
ablv with reference 10 the interpreters of Isaac Newton), and 'materialist (notably 
with reference to the followers of Darwin and to the continental Positives). In all 
three periods the lexms -religion and 'science' have different meanings, but the new 
meaning in later periods presuppose the old meanings in earlier periods. 

The Complementary-Confrontational 
Model of Science and Religion 


The very first pair of commandmcnti discussed by Maimonides at the beginning 
of the .Mtsfcwfr Tcmrii is the positive commandment to worship God and the negative 
commandment to avoid idolatry, The entire system of 613 commandments has only 

. .Inate Purpose. It is to create the kind of psychological, physical, and pohuca! 
ZJL thai make fulfilment of the first pair of possible. Differ- 
m? people will succeed at different degree* in fulfilling them. (The possible leveb 
% t illtlmen. are enumerable.) At the highest level lews will be able to hw life 
£|W involved in the affairs of this phy»ical world, but they will do so at all urns 
Uh their bodies and minds completely focused in meditation on and wWi 
God Achieving -hi* end requires the highest level of success in, ne. bnt 
Z! n \ perfection itself is an instrumental value who* end .s intellectual. 
Tlte intellectual goal is a fully adequate understanding of who and what Uod & 
TMS Perfect knowledge is in fact the ultimate object of all knowledge, and any lesser 
knnwW runs the constant risk of bring in reality the worst of all sms-idolatry 
Idolitrv is the WOWhip of any deity other than the true God. and the posn.vt and 
literal attribution to God of any characteristics that arc not true of h.m confutes 

"'llSrtdical negative judgement about theological error is a consequence of Gods 
oneness. Oneness entails radical simplicity, such that uniquely .n God's ease what 
God is and what God does are the same thing, and mat thing can be only a single 
thins Hence, anything attributed to God constitutes who God is, so that rf that thin* 
is not true of God. then the speakers have unwittingly commuted themselves to 
idolatry. In knowing an object, the knower achieves a form of unity wtth the object 
known. Hence, the pursuit of knowledge of God iv an effort to ach.eve wtth 
God Therefore, to know God is to wnhip God. However, if the de.ty known is the 
wrong deity, then the speakers not only misspeak God's name: unwittingly or not. 

they worship a false deity. ,.,,,. ■ J.,,, 

Msimonfcte urges all who his MtfuieA Tor<if>. which is h.s praoical to 
those who foUow'the path of Torah to unity with God. to team science. Cod ts 
identified bv three primary acts; he creates the universe at i« orig.n; he redeems the 
world at its end: and between the beginning and the end he reveals the path or 
humanity to follow. It is a consequence of God's absolute simplicity that these three 
acts axe a single, timeless act that is identical wtfh Goi Of the three, the one act that 
is most accessible to human, natural knowledge (which hce just means a knowledge 
that is independent of revelation) is creation. Through the use ■ nt the senses and 
reason all human beings have the ability to achieve knowledge of the «**£?*« 
govern all creatures in the universe. Since the universe extsts by the w,U of God. then 
those laws are expression, of God's will And since in Gods case there is no 
distinction between who God is. what God wills, and what God does, knowledge of 

the sciences is knowledge of God. , 

Hence, the terms that Maimonides uses (and the entire medieval trad.t.on used) 
for 'science' and -sdennrf respectively are wisdom' (MnuM and sage (eAac- 
ham). The earliest rabbis were also called 'sages' more than rabbts. A "V**™* 
man', a person who has acquired wisdom, and 'w.sdom iw ^.momja « what , 
was for the author of Proverb* and the Greek philosophers: that knowledge necessary 
for the reaction of happiness', where happiness is understood to be the attainment 
of the highest moral end of human perfection. 

w .a the title of thfa section ! call ihc 
Wh., MMMtf ^^'Lrf **«. The "ience* .hat Maimonidcs 

^pLucs arc astronomy ^ffS^L «d a*-*** » ,h < r*^ 
Xn* a« IM - commanded l »^S», any violence to M~dcs 
|evd of which they arc cap**- H«*.« ^ of ayan d»IwnK«. 

31 J i-* «" ■* WtC " d , h r ' nil o. vie proposed by the rabbit There 

«« Other medieval «-^.^7/^;« n i--who deeded in «n, raS , 
century and H*dai Crew* ul J* ""Jf™ * ch Jvlt 4m and philosophy were seen 

^.^•-^^S^^Sdio" no, have ^rriW 
to bc ,. tension. However, ^"XS fifteenth and sixteenth centuries), arid 
opowntsuntadieUKM'^;^ "^,W inking until modern times Ivh. the 

modem Judaism and modern saedee. 


of Science and Judaism 

SlTTo dC^mc correct Lmng, of the Torah. In demon^.ng has n^od 
SSpm-fan Maimomdes used the be. -nee of » day. «^™ ^ 
,„taiodo what Maimamdo did would no, be to say exactly what Maimonidcs «d. 
Terence is that were he livmg today Maimonides" language of ~ W ouW 
no, bc Plrtonic-Amiotdun-aoic. With respect to creation and ihc natUK <J the 
physical world, it would bc the language of modern physics and astrophysics follow- 
ing in the nadiiion of me loll of Galileo, Kepler, Newton. L=fi»*. Huygens, 
mLvvcII. Einstein. Bohr. Hehenbcr* jnd Schrodinger. The same can be said vrrtfa 
respect ,o revelation and the nature of humanity, which would include a, leas, the 
language of the biological discoveries of Darwin. Mendel, and Watson and Crick. 
That few rabbis today engage in such Maimonidean speculation is in part a sign of 
the dominance of Ihe confrontational model of science and Judaism. Bui thai is no! 
the whole story. In part i, is a consequence of the £ac, lha, in modem life rabbis no 
longer function as sages. I, is also a consequence of ,he modern separalionis, model. 
which excludes from ihc domain of religion any subject over which scientists 

pronounce judgement, in the hope that scientist, will ^ran, the same courtesy m 
,hem on questions of theology and ethics. 

Today die separation modd seems dominant among rabbis, even as it is breaking 
Hrm-t. in Ihe academic world of evolutionary psychologists and gcnet.c engineers. 
However, this sketch is slightly loo simple. While rabbis ,end to k,vc questions of 
icntirk theory alone, that is not always the case with the applications of science. For 
«amole in general, traditional rabbis support almost that genetic engin- 
es want to do to help human beings produce children. Bu, thai position H not a 
coasequence of mributing any inherent value to science. RaUier. i, is a consequence 
of -. highly liberal stance among traditional rabbis on producing Jewish children m 
response to the numerical devastation of the Jewish people in the Holocaust Post- 
Hulocau* the number of living lews is dangerously low. Hence, to ensure the future 
survival of the people, help is welcome from every corner. But that does not mean 
that traditional Jews are also open to wha, geologist* say about the age of the earth, or 
what evolutionary palaeo-amhropologists have to say about the origins of the human 
series Quite the contrary: contemporary .rational rabbis increasingly seem ,o 
be attracted to the very same kinds of defences of biblical literalism (despite 
the fundamental principle of rabbinic interpretation of the Hebrew Scriptures mat 
the Torah speaks in human language rather man saying things precisely W they are ) 
and to the so-called young earth accounts of me American Christian Right (despite 
the fact mat Maimonides and other medieval commentators on Genesis insist that 
me -account of creation has a 'deeper meaning' than its literal interpreuuon 1. That 
mese rabbis can adopt biblical literalism is a standard in such case* is, once again, 
symptom of the decline of the rabbinate as a source for present and future dudmnn 


Post-Newtonian Physics and Jewish 
Creation: Necessity, Accident, and 


i mi Tin — 

If *e read as literally as possible what the opening chapters of the Book of Genesis say 
about the origin of me universe, then me following picture emerges. At its origin, he 
universe is a sphere of "earth; surrounded by a ring of "water, above which hovrrs the 
wind of God' in a background of darkness. The universe in this state is 
described as -chaotic ami unintelligible' God 'creates light', which » set over -against 
,he dark. He names his creation "day. and the spatial darkness from which , ,* set off 
he names nighf. He calls this firs, insertion of division in space the hrst day. Then 
follow six more so-called dap in which further distinctions or separations are made. 
all of which he calls good'. On the second and third day the space of the inverse is 

atenat iha. he e'" 15, sk V- 
. «— .• „*i on <he swnwi ** ci " d , forfni , "„ !?Lde.t into *» "P"" 1 ' *^ 

flstitujufch Hfaat he "> ^ ^ Utvd fc thai P«> «*« ""J J r lhe fnnli « 

Tl space «*-*■* ^SS £*** ^ **£ 

f^^^^^T^llLva the sky. In addmon. God 

multiply. Then he forms, with ""*""" f^, IusI as "the large light emmer 

JSm. H* -* « •* *» ' V U bl ^ or fee**! **«» « f «»*" in 
The* commentaries «* te ^" ^ Le rabbis used -ha. to them «*« 
r^jtfm, in a.« m t.^ «he.r "^^"J, ^ ^ ^fth century a"d no later 
2 belt te* rfphpfa -d «*»*#» ii^Lki was Plato's BM «"6 

S£E=t^-«3S^ - *~ * *— -* 

above were Hid » mean .he following. ^ fc .^^ fe .„ 

Since God does no, change, ^^^'^es of ere,. ion cannot constitute 

c^uor, A. the base b te ^^fj^,T^Slbn.*Wel» exist. 
flWKk. occupy d—egia*. E«*hc»u ^^gJJ^. birds>4 „ d 

.ofeed Mb*** .W*h«* 23^£SSta in «» «*■ '» 

J[Um aH that 0CP9T *e different w^ of space. The l.ving ™6 d jn 

^ food for the "--■ t ro e /T«:,n L ^^ ^ it 

by a l*» code that emanates from .he supreme ruler m to««to The Uttge 
present is of a complex hierarchy of social strata in each ^^M 
L umouc pb« in the universe and obey* the appropriate law, HP**" £ 
unholy ir,d hoh, language* » vren are holy and unholy, and so are nations. At h 
.00 of the hierarchy of the worid below lhe moon are humans, and at the top oi ,m 

htatehv of nations of lhe car.h arc .he |cwi.h people. v<ho are governed by an 
"! I h £S who .h e m«elv„ are governed ultimately by .he higher sub,p««, 
XSSivm P-P^> -^ «*-— Mf*M« «■ - "**« m the 

"■Src^Tte^ed as a .eries of spheres wi.hin sphere, Each sphere is a 

.I Z£L «ho* life pr.neipte is a non-physical (or spiritual I entity w h.cb it i» 

i,e visTc^d. Lspiritual en,i.yof a sphere is eaued aerate m.eUect .ut 

"f Z r«H«* rf-D the ^tinlly extended entities wid.1. fa domauv wK^d, 
incudes .he lesser spheres. The W« of these sphere, «*»« heglobeof 
f r "th « melted intellect is died "the actrvc taMfccf Cf the tonguage of 

' .; Jd Tshekinah «in the language of ,he hturg,, which .randates mto 
SS o God s ■indwelling presence). The h.ghest kvri of creature, wuh.n .be 

Snahs domain Ls .he pmphet, who to understood to be . ™««l b«J 
hetU human, («fco have practical wisdom) and angels I who hav* tf*! 
wtrm. X .hem are .he other nabom of humans, below are the var-cus 

StwSJfanS from the four elements of science. These ^^'^1 
L S < Gods wind) and paste «»« and carOv-<onsmu.e the .tuff that « 
. ^ n J emul throu/a comhinafon of Uws of mechanic, =t/ and 
d, purpose. All of this is understood to he morally good, and knowledge ofil* > 

_,!. ^.h in knavvledcc of God, which itself is a moral obligation. 
P te^X oT^bbinic doctrine of creation *** heaven *e c«-ol- 
Jo P^andAris,o... bu. more from the former than .he latter. The diHere.ce . 
SiLl Bothclaii. i i, 1 M:: l .nivM-el-,.s.,,:v ! ,Mm^m.r,,,l--,v, [ ,, vvete« 
S -ei* do the epical rabbi. Thi, reject** has more to do w.4 thedep f jh» 
Smnomy. The comm.tment to a non-temporal creauon « a consequence of «h 
SS^S-I interpreution of divine onenc.; God on ^-^«^S 
act and thai »Ct cannot be subject to temporal onpi. or end. However, tiru. 
uLmen. is also dependent on science. In UtLs case d>e science « semannc, not 

ofC and ideas are spiritual entitle, These entities desenbe «^«*£™ 
LHifi.-d bv states In medieval semantics the substance .s the reference of the subject 
7tt^'*Z2 e seme** and the modincaticn of the subs«nce ,n d« 
Znfof the predicate of the sentence. On thi, theory of lavage, a pred.^ 
nam« , thing .ha, is contained within another Mm that the sublet names. Henc£ 
"fTh«e Ian be Lool post.ive attributions of God, God would necessardy be 
complex, which would deny his unuy. 

Modern semantics is no longer Aristotelian. Hence. « » no NpdJ- Jg 
sutements ab.u. Gods nature in the Hebrew Scnp.ures canno. be taken U. least 
nLy) • ^ ^ltte (which wottkl include the asenpfon to God of Jr^ 
charadenstics,. In contempt hbera. .ewish ^-nlhropo^K dw 
.ions of God have been reintroduced, especially ,n femUUSt theology and tn a res.val 
of Jewish romanticism through the study of Cabbalah. 

rf VMM**-."" *2££ 

j^, noi mean that there arc no 

p^. Hence, for* "T" "HSl but whose JM} and K^^T ™ 
°* ^ ^f o SsTi Ich occurred a, some pom. m tnc 

M nv millions of yem ^ «*«* ™ *" " & me energy expands * =11 

disperse* through *e ■"^"■JKSSw lo-crs- As the .empera.urc 
d» k l"» I. «3*^XS distinct entities, -hid. -with 
U^ers, «ub of energy »*« '° "1°.^ cn «nc S . all organic - * hierarchy of 
comi-d cootog form o» • l «""*S cities, plants and gala**. 

There is no pan of d* above story ito oj for nfl teaMn or 

understand^ of creation e«cp, °«-* rt J £™^ ^ urpoK 3S a mover in 
purf o« whatsoever. ** «* «» t ZS££Z^ * *•« * *«** from 

~ ^oas doctnn. be so opined. On the contrary, fc» rabbis today (con rary 
^Lny med,^ rabb,. Mm *» stifle and Torah" truths «™^ 
different wav, of ,h,nV, ng abon, the same thir* So, il * by «vda«.on ««^ "«" 
£S2 Of n*S motion of ,he Hebrew Secures) tom* no» rthe 
purpose of the exotkw vh. » generate entities who may wordup God each in U 
oZwav. Science «etts us nothbg ahou, that, but .hot is the l.m.tat.on of science It, 
«rength is that it OH .ell us in a depth .h». far exceeds nmhUoti .he means by 

God to acti 

Post-Darwinian Biology and Jewish 
Ethics: Materialism, Voluntaryism, 

and relationality 

Teleology, Life, and Humanity 

■n,. ^-rative Principle of peaceful consistence between .he sciences and .he religions 
t unsuted prermss upon which the scientist agreed to th* resinctron was ibcr 

other living things come into existence by means of a d.rcct command fron, God Uto 
L element earth, in the «se cf the human Cod *vs W « ™ta jh-nm «* 
The human, and .he human alone, is *•*/**££*£!£££ 



, P rr.i tf.s<"«« 

different story about whw « m«w to be 

MolutioMnr' '"'" "TV, Mmc way u Generis begins. In Oencm, 

a Uvm* thing- The ***« J "£J"<5 „f which arise ,11 forms of life (vu, 
fir,, fere b «* Mb i*^* "1 H„Ler. ,ust what is this W b different. 
org3J ,,c matter). ^S5S3&-« *« b *"*££ 
FoTth, Hebrt* «P»«i2SSSK *b breath becomes •*»»■ «*» 
fetori **«»« '; r ^tr he G^ and Roman philosopher, ,s a no,,. 

, BeMtid* the rnnaplc JJJ^J^ These fife-emting entities contain 
As their story b new told. *»^"™~; v<ilhin lhc nuclei of the cells. The 

chromosomes art the bearers of genes w deoxyribonucleic acid 

tf^ of ehem**. ^.;^^: h Sg— .cd formation by group, 
(DKA), which we held together m ^°« * aK adenine (A), gnteffi), 

(^ « yeast, also an ca« mt acni-ato-og. ^^ ^ 

suth .bread,. The ^J^^ the cell nucleus activates 

humans i« no different from anything else. 

f .here it *ny issue here at all between Iuda,sm and saencc, .1 * the same as the 
JL,Z™«L above ,* «*« -o Physics: vfc whether any of the* proc«a* 
eriubi. dmnc purpose or »beth« -hey occur by chance ndtar phys-cal recess 
Until recently the answer of the biologists would have been fate the answer of th, 
physicists. However, today some biologists would agree that what occurs m Me docs 
haw a pun***, but the purpose is directed by the genes, not by God- 
Besides the general question of purpose, the life view adopted in modern science ls 
problematic for Jewish philosophers for two reasons. First, the life saences seem to 
dew that human bnngs ^distinct from other life forms. Second, they deny that the 
power to reason has any special moral value. For the classical few* philosophers, 
rationality is a unique human trait that serves the members of this species to fulfil 
their ultimate moral end of unity with God. In contrast, for the evolutionary 
psychologist and palaeo-anthropologist. reasoning is only one kind of survival 
technique that species improvise in response to their environment, and as these 
techniques go. it is fir from the best (Compare, for example, the slow and clumsy 
survival activities of the mighty human beings who have to reason out solutions to 
their problems with the speed and endless flexibility of lowly viruses in adapting to 
environmental changes without any intellect whatsoever.) 

f ■ U interesting to pole that the modem scientific position has more in common wiu. 
.Jutted hfc view than it does with rabbinic philosophy. It is the philosophy, not the 
Shut* that asserts that the life principle isa serrate, non-physical or sp.ntual entity 
^lled a soul, and it is the philosophy, not the Scriptures that makes the end of human 
r,l u rational thought. For the Scriptures the term W means onlv fl pnnnpie 
rfUfe in ^material organism, and the end of life is defined by a system of command 
m :nts that directs human beings into community with each other and with OocL 

Practical Issues: 'Be fruitful and multiply' 

,. r , r w , have considered science in relationship to |.idaism only at the level of 
Lory. However, .he reality of the encounter of science with iudaism is £u ^ jjl 
jTpLtical level, and from this perspective there is even less coun.ct. . fie 
knowledge, particularly in the life sciences, is viewed primanly as medicine. Medic ne 
alwl bom a preferred field of study and practice by the rabbis. (Mamtonuks 
Z example was a physician.) It was through the study and teach. ng o this art h at 
lews first entered the Christian universities of Europe, and « continues to be a field in 
Kb lev* are prominent. However, there arc a number of challenges to trad.t.onal 
„™t P r*tartdincs of lewish law that modem medicine introduces. 
tr^ctS part, contemporary discoveries about the nature of heredity and the 
mechanics of human reproduction has. been of great help to the |ew>s i peop te 
Concerning reproduction, no issue has been more unporunt m eollecme lew sh hfe 
*an the physical survival of the lewish people. The issue of numeric^ loss ts that • 
t numLs of Jovs involved in the iewilfa community declines. .. becomes mc eas- 
in ely difficult for committed religious Jews to continue the bnd that the.r 
fanh require. (Below a certain number, kosher shops, for ex.,mple. «^f»^ 
business, and ^-nagogues cannot afford to hire educators.) Furthermore, lewish daJ> 
life focuses primarily on the home, and me operation of the home as a cen r< of 
spiritual ac.iv.ty requires strong lewish commitment from both parents . H em e. ,« * 
critic^ for lews who want to be lewish and to raise children who want to be )ev.nsh to 
marry partners who share this spiritual and communal comm.tment Usually this 
Tans L, lews need to marry Jews. However, after the Holocaust the number . 
fchlenazi (European descent) lovs is now so dangerously low tlwt on purely numer- 
ic! Lis futureVewtsh coUcctive survival is threatened. ITe threat takes «» fmms. 
First, fcws do not have enough children to enable the population of the commu- 
nity to grow. Hence, anything that science can do to Jew-sh pare-m m 
procreatL Ls highly ,-alued. for this reason even the most polittcaUy conserva 
„bbis have adopted the most liberal positions on reproduction. ^£™*£ 
issue in the American political spectrum where the moral sensutvuy of die Jewish 
Righr is out of step with the leadership of the American, Right. 

Scond. the reduce poo. of lews is so small that there are some genet, 
diseases to which lew, are especially prone. Once again, the contribution of 


"^ ~^ZT ««cUfly m genetics, « highly valued for WO 

■rmnamrv medical Kiefla, espeuan} "> * f lhr „, in oriJtr 

dM. b always the poribdrtr *^2riTrt£^ l« * * * for eon " m ". f ? 

^|, mother Amcri^to^-^"^ ^ ^ of inhcritsn « 

The dramatic tao-« » Jj^SSS- * l™ sh ** »f «?* '" 

and reproduction also ™~ disunc. «u oi pn sjm A fcHhcr lvas 

p , Jer ^«^2^A '{l y SU of breathing i. «* one marker 

of ihe end o! life and * a *> * u ™ c , necessarily mean that 

,«*. of brain funcuon. M ^""^ tL p*» it can be said that 
.he person is dead. II *m& - »^5LS 1, J m 7ans to be d. In our 
someone is dead, because « B no ^WflJ" fc ., b nol clcar whe ,her this 

&«W3.— -d M * Ha, «. * - make such , 

Z ™ Vfh" 11 line of the mother and no. through the faiher One ***** 

must be a priest for the son to be a pries., and .^because of » ™c*w 
ZftL in the Y chromosome that fe passed on only through .he father to h» 
son, it is possible to determine a pure line of priestly descent. 

Once again, with .he positive, also come .he problems. There are sign.bcin. 
groups of peoples, such as .he Lembas in Africa, who seem to be Icwisn genflicaUy. 
but who otherwise would never have been considered Jewish before. However, tl is Ur 
(torn clear what ire legitimate or Oiepiima.c political uses of this kind of geneUc 
data. Should, for example, genetic evidence be uwd to decide who may or may not 
qualify for citizenship in Ihe Stile of Israel under the Law of Return? (On this basis 
many Iraqi* and Syrians might qualify.) Furthermore, should a lewish slate take 
proactive steps to "improve' the generic pool of its citizens? For anyone who remem- 
ber* the 1910s and 1930s in the United States and in Western Europe, there must be 
some fear that genetic engineering may simply be a resurrection of the eugenics of the 
past century. 

Post-Marxist History and Jewish 
Redemption: 'The Light unto the 


The how tl«t lies behind generic engineering is that science enables human beings to 
ilmve the quality of human exis.cncc, and .here are no limits on what science 
Z£m of hurlhy may accompli*. Many think that in ,he no. too duun, 
ZZ we will have the means .0 extend indefinitely a qoil.Ut.vcly high level of 
human life in a world where medicine has conquered disease and the .octal sciences 
jTe.5 political injusrice. Such a hope is asecn lar expression *£ £ J*Jj 
is the expectation of the ««tual coming of th* messume age wtlh the hope .ha. .1 
chnuld haopeti •speedily in our own day'. 

Dors is not thefei W » have such messianic hopes for sconce. The scven.ecnih- 
Ji cigh.een.h-ceTi.ury confidence in the achicvcmcn.s of the >^»£e»»rf 
SenJ ^f Ncwwn and Leibni, fuelled the passion of the .n.eHeCual Site who ^.rfte 
Ligc the nature of absolutely everything in the French Revolution. I, , fact he 
worW a. the beginning of the nine.eenth cen.ury was a radically different place from 
wh3t i, was at .he beginning of the seventeenth cen.ury. But the dark of the 
SSutkm was its economic expresston as the Industrial Rcvolutton. m which a new 
dl of people called workers" found the conditions of Uieir lives reduced by another 
n "c,I"fp-ple called 'management' .0 a level of poverty and inhumanly never 
before knOwnT. his.ory. In response to the failure oftbe mneteenth century- hverd 
a.d commerdal Mate spawned by (he ideals of the *r^^TT£Z 
arose a bos. of new social sciences, including ecortomtcs, and a senoos attempt .0 
tran-sform .he art, of history and P b»«o P ny into science^ The nesv ««««^ 
L" nineteenri, and early twentieth centuries in turn produced a new form of this 
wildly messi^m called -Socialism-, which again promised through the political 
domain to bring about a Utopia. However, its two concrete expressions in d»«$t» 
mid-twentieth ccntury-he Fasci« narional .sodalism <«»^^^S 
and .he Communist international socialism of the Smnet Union and the ^j\ « 
Republic of China-produced brave new worlds that did but improve the 

quality of human life on .his planet, „« ci - in i- 

The prayers of lews are all attempts to imf ke the coming of «^"^« 
age, and chough , fc« coming from the perspective of their «-«»^tS 
sceptical about every new innovation .hat ■maginat.vely exaggerate, the benefits .1 
wuT bring ,0 humanity, .hey never give up the hope that this is the tune of the 
coming, and clearly science will play a role in the fulfilment. 

The first thing God created was light, but the light of creation is held in rcser>e for 
nte^Sc ,1 Us fight is no. .he light of our world. In ^-ohmonary fervour 
of the seventeenth century, both physical and spiritual Ugh- became the .en.ral 
conception in the transformation of the Aristotelian phdosophy of the Middle 

,„M.l*TM. .AVUM- • 

to the 

initial hgKt of cfrtiwn. 

Postscript: Intellectual History and 
Constructive Theology 

SSwlc .in hU Atopic) and Hegel Un his flKydop**-) hm used the 

IS. L ha« mL.Mu.lin. and Rom.. Catholic theologians «£* b 

torS^doi. « *a« the notion thai theology can proceed a. a non-h«.oncal 

Jdem tradition of bo* Prolog)' and philosophy, where experience and reason 
are Ukctt to he eptfcmicaliy authon.auve .o the exclusion of tradition- iLearrong 
from history » learning through a tradition.) 

In m own thinking about both religious and scientific miters iradrtwrt pHys 
significant but not unerttical role. Firs. I can flunk aboui what I think about only 
because 1 am a product of a certain culture, and how that culture impacts upon my 
thought has to do with hs history. Everything I do and think is a product of that 
history. Second, 1 live in multiple communities. I am an American a? well as a few, 
and I am a pruduct of ■ certain kind of academic education that shaped the way I 
examine both mv American and my Jewish cultural inheritance. Third, these different 
culture are not independent, lews have lived everywhere .it every time as a minority 
culture within it leas, one dominant culture, and the dominant cultures have 
affected how lews think about everything, including Judaism. At the same time, 
these dominant cultures haw dunged because .he lewish people have become part of 
them. (American lewish life is distinctively American; America would be a signifi- 
cantly different place if it were not foJ the Jews; and 1 am un every aspect of my life an 
American-few, a lewish-American.) Because I am a product of different cultures, 1 
have a place to Hand to look critically at all of them. But I am not 3 divinity who is 
free of external influence. Even when I critique where I come from intellectually, my 
critique remains itself a part of the critiqued. 

There is no way to rise above culture. The closet we ewv com*.- to doing » a 
.hroueh the sludv of Us history, for in the act of looking critically at that hniory wc 
Ltribule to its advancement b, rinding ways to move beyond it- This essay has been 
such an exercise. Let me end this postscript with two highlights from the body of the 
-, wv (making the implicit explicit}. 

fiid the models of complement and confrontation are not mutual* «clusnc 
Thev a« simply two elemenLs of the way in which we leam and grow in our pursuit 
of knowledge and the improvement of the world. Both are always present. Dilter- 
hkc* are only • matter of emphasis. Post-Newtonian physic* and rabbin.c creation 
doctrine are examples of where the dominant interactions of traditional 
Purees and contemporary Jewish philosophical theology with acadcm.c studies of 
elementary and cosmological physio are deeply complementary. However, there mS 
remains an element of tension in the synthesis. (For example, .s moral value mi- 
dnag that human beings exclusively inject into nature or. despite what our school 
MM « does physical nature express moral values?) On the other hand, the inter- 
action between post-Darwiman biology and rabbinic revelation docrnne .s an exam- 
ple of where the dominant interaction is pervasively confrontational. At the core of 
L engagement is the conception of the distinctive nature of being human. (For 
example, is a human some form of machine whose function is to produce more 
copies of itself, or an entity who forms communities whose function a to worship 
God*) However, even in the conflict with biology there remain element* of common 
endeavour. Certainly for contemporary Jewish thought, especially in areas ol genetic 
engineer^.., modern biology is viewed as a blessing, especially so after the devasta. 
m losses suffered by the lewish people in the Holocaust 

Second, while the Jewish people have much to gain from the engineering conse- 
quences of modern scientific knowledge, the same cannot be said for ■<*»""- 
title uu-orv- The baste tension, and challenge, is ultimately At least 
methodologically, modem science presupposes that everything that .s can be reduced 
lo »In. is physical and the dynamics of the physical can he understood » solely 
mathematical and mechanical terms. Jewish linking has to challenge this ^uc..on- 
ism. for its most fundamenul insight is. hat the so-called plastic word U.e. the world 
of what our sense organs present to our consciousness as reality J is only one small part 
of all of reality, and it is far from being reality's most valued realm. However, lewish 
thinking must" respond to this challenge with knowledge rather than ignorance, and ra 
many respects ours is the most ignorant lewish community m history. 

I do no. mean to say that lews are ignorant. Quite the opposite » the case, for lews 
have been at the forefront of all modem scientific advancements in the past ioo years. 
However, they have pursued science not as lews; in fact, they have pursued science in 
congous opposition to their Jewish inheritance, .Sigmund Freud I b a paradigmatic 
bui far from unique case.) The source of the problem is a Craeuttonal European 
rabbinate that in the late Middle Ages and early modem period, m marked oppo» .on 
to the tradition of lewish rationalism that culminated in the writings ot 
separated what we recognb* to be me study of science from the standard curnculom 
of the learned lew. Whereas inteuertoil energy in the pre-modcrn Jewish world had 

tf, S(>(ll«l •' 

ii ««,rr no less than into mcdiUlion and community 
b^n d ,««cd in.o what we «H ^ rf ±c (ews eltclu Jed any continued 

action, the rabfe Wto «^ £k» * f imiljInJ ^enpora^ Jewry who 

, n ,he past century M"^'^ ^ ^ dwlopm , n , of fenl «***>« 
*» ^W« bl ^"" tT -^ "tr Bo.h .f these mover*** ha« been the 
fcd*. and «d« *£*S2SilJ *tt the lewish peopk as a people 
prinMry conceptual and ££*£ «*«£ ^^ ^^ „, bolh 

hav CS o^.tos Um vc.nm«lemay^owevrr . js 4 nineleemh . 

^roach- Ul-1 'f "^ "IsophTcrof the .seventeenth centum... 
^turv response «o the ™^^ c J™™^ Ftencb Solution in tl*e eighteenth 
became ew*d in the pnhtafll Bferrn, » '™™ J ^ 100 s l00 Ut e. 

•^^^^^^SEEl*" finallv Absorbed the 
for ft e*™ ju* « the «« «*» ****< f ~ hcWad „ inlD a wrl d of 

di^int kSolJcc^ ■*.*, precisely at the time when *e develop- 


,. replace the *ifcd eosrrKikigKal form, of rclig.ous My *J had P*«fed m 
„ci*l Europe and led its people into the horrendous religious wa ft of orf, 
nndcmiiv-of Chftotasapiiwt Muslims and, finally. Chrisuans agamsl Christians. 
However, the failure of nationalism became apparent 10 many European intellectuals 
in the battlefield* of .he Fint World War that initiated us into the twentieth century, 
at whose end we were using our technological advances to move into a world of both 
economic and cultural relations that transcend in every respect the increasingly 
archaic idea of the nation. It is precisely at this time of the obsolescence of the 
nrton-suuc that both lews and Muslim* have derided to create nation -states and 
vest their futures in them. Ocariy the twenty-first century must show us better, more 
reasonable alternatives for our present age of technology. 

The source of both failure* of Jewish hie at the beginning of the twenty-first 
century has its source in the now centuries-old decisions of the community's 
religious leaders to nurginalize science from spiritual religious life. They did so not 
oot of a strategy of conflict, but rather because they simply ceased to see the relevance 
of science to the future existence and prosperity of the Jewish people. My hope is that 
in uYts new century this Leadership will revive its more classical approach of har- 
monization, and promote a communal leadership that is informed of both its 
religious and its scientific heritage, as a community of 'God-fearers' dedicated to 
the pursuit of all forms of "wisdom'. 






Christian theology has always resisted a Manichaean opposition between God and 
the world, believing that the universe is God's creation and thaU inure Incarnation of 
the Word made flesh, the One by whom all things were made became a participant in 
the history of the world florin i: * **) As a consequence. Christian thinking at its 
best has sought to be in a positive relationship to ail forms of human knowledge, 
including science, without allowing itself to become distorted by an improper 
submission to die reveled protocols of purely secular argument. All forms of 
rational inquiry into aspects of reality have their own particular motivating experi- 
ences and indispensable concepts- Therefore, neither science nor theology should 
nuke the mistake of supposing that it can answer the others proper questions. 
Nevertheless, there has to be a consonance between the answers that each gives, if 
it is indeed the case that there b a fundamental unity of knowledge about the one 
world of created reality. 

Already in the second century, apologists such as |ustin Martyr sought to give a 
reasoned defence of Christianity in the intellectual context of the later Roman 
Empire. When Augustine came to write his Uteral Centmeatary on Gtneiss (early 
fifth century), he was not concerned with some kind of naive biblicisrn; rather, he 
acknowledged that if vttll-csubfished secular knowledge seemed to conflict with a 
customary interpretation of Scripture, then the latter might need to be reconsidered. 
(Much later. Galileo would appeal to this dictum in his controversy with Cardinal 
Bellarmnie about the rdationship of Copernican theory to the Bible.) Augustine 
himself had been persuaded to abandon his early adherence to Muricteism partly 

f .lawniMinuv astronomers concerning 

££ it***" by * «"** Al ^ ^ o( Aristotle. Thottust* thmk- 

SSk *> d b > *" n T' V r ^t i ^ ^uhr and ^rcd knowledge « 
£ does not oppo* **** "**££££ The di.nnc.ion between then, 

S in the one appealing m , 5K5^SS* The «M £- «" 

s i«»VBsa - or **• - - — 

a^-W^W^?^^ m SSdn* phase *«*™ d it5 &rCa ' CSt . 
sld M ofeemtion and ^— u £^ *< W of the Jeory of 

^ievement W*h ^.*SSSffi^^" ,- ^ l, " 1 ! e "E; 
rfW******^ ^ 't^L *** developments took place there 

of hght. Scholars ^*2JJj2S*li as philosophical MM^M 
,nd .hen. rather than ■ aWMjJJ &«« I ' dviliwu on significantly 

*»&* otscoveries) or in med, «d Chu» |MW ^ about j^^ 

5„ ,dv*nee of contemporary ^' C«^ p J^^^^de,,, a significant 

«P-^« ^^tSrSSSTll-i supped a supportive 
CK can be -de that tf «s £ £rtn* ^ ^ ^ fa ^ 

creanon, ,1 may be expected <° *£^ ^ ^ buI llley though, that it* 

Orwior. The ancient Greeks aJ» °^~, i mm «ed „,, the crwriw activity of the 
pan™ derived from the necessary form ™*^' *" tllouglu . However, 
& ■ P^en. to winch one ought «™"^^ JJ choict f its 
Christian theology believed that the order of ^r,^ w do _ hence 

creation, it b a worthy object of study, a pent that the medieval Ch,n« maj not 
have appreciated. In the seventeenth century it was a popular saytng that God i h d 
w^ten two books: the Book of Namre and the Book of Script**. Both should lx 
™nd7.1»s was done m*i. they could not contact each other, smce they had 

^hTcVrST^ «e th« the early pioneers of science were mostly people of 
Chnstian faith, even if some of them had their problems with the religious author- 
ities (Galileo} or with Christian orthodoxy (Newton). Another influence thai may 
have been at work was a shift, starting in the late Middle Ages and intensified 
considerably m Reformation times, to reading the Bible less symbolically and more 
in a matter-of-fact manner. The adoption of a similar attitude to nature meant that « 

ns reffiiM-leu no longer a* * suui^t w nt^Mi"^ *f...«— .-.— D — — — — 
medieval bestiaries, but « significant in its own right. The pelican came to be seen 
imply as a bird, and not as a symbol of the Eucharist. 

Newton had been deeply impressed by the order of the solar system, seeing it as 
»fcciinft the power of the Lord of the universe. Early exploitation of the resources of 
Lros« bv Anlhom . van Leeuwenhock and Robert Hooke revealed a world of 
,; nv but exquisitely structured life forms. This led to Christian investment m what 
,n K . to be known as physico-theology. an admiration for the wonderful order of 
nature understood .« testifying to the character of its Creator. The Cambridge 
naturalist lohn Ray, a pioneer of scientific taxonomy, wrote an influential book. 
Tfa Wisdom of God Afoujfcsftd in the Works o/Gwriw. U691). wbidl ran through 
m m editions. This kind of irgumem from nature to God reached a peak .n W,lham 
Palev's Natural Thtology (iSoz), surveying a wide range of scientific dam, both 
nhwical and biological. Ilicse Christian discussions tended to underplay the 
nmbtaiitvtf the evidence, paying insufficient attention to the darker of nature. 
with its malformations and disasters-a point of criticism made trenchantly by 
pavid Hume in his Dutepia on Naiwiu! Religion U?79). There was also msuffiaent 
rccosnition of the logical uncertainty of attempts at a kind of inductive theology, a 
ooim emphasized bv Immanuel Kant in his insistence on an agnostic division 
between accessible appearances (phenomena) and the inaccessible nature of things 
in themselves (noumena). 

The development that put an end to Christian reliance on a Palevesque style of 
natural theology was not. however, philosophical critique, but a scientific discovery; 
The publication in iBS* of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species showed how the 
patient accumulation and sifting of small differences, taking place over very' long 
periods of time, could give ri* to life forms adapted to their environment without 
Ihe need for the direct intervention of a divine Designer to bnng this about. 1 here is 
an ill-judged interpretation of this seminal event, frequently repeated, that assigns to 
it the mythical status of a final parting of .he ways between scene* and ration. 
leading to the triumph of the former and the defeat of the latter. The idea ,s based on 
a historicallv inaccurate notion that Darwin's ideas were immediately and unani- 
moody accq»ted within the scientific community, while an obscurantist rcl.g-ous 
community equally unanimously rejected them. This is just "«****" 
were a variety of reactions on both sides. In the scientific community there was a 
degree of resistance to Darwin that persisted until the discoveries concerning genet- 
ics, made by the Moravian monk GregOf Mendel, were recovered at the beginning of 
the twentieth century. On the religious side, responses were equally yaned. borne 
Christian thinkers, notably Asa Gray in North America and Charles Kmg^y *jd 
Frederick Temple in Britain, welcomed Darwin s insights from the first. Both ol the 
latter thinker used a phrase that neatly encapsulates a theological understanding of 
biological evolution. They said that while no doubt God could have brough into 
being a ready-made world, it had turned out that the Creator had chosen ,0 do 
something cleverer than that in making a world in which creatures could make 

nS , t „WINUHOPS' 


«*»V diilPft" between ChritlSwity and scumcc 
a^g. -*-**f "S2S«3K .Erections, The intcrachon 
,oan cU .bough i. did ***2SS**« concern to I :W»n thmker, 


£ way .o * ^?^:2™^1Z^L«- The former concept b 

«*, spate bo, h *rs5U- «* •" ,haI is on *? ~T g Wl " 

* diy spate both of <*»*'«»«• 

uD dersW „ express .He «2**^j£^i initiation of cosmic history, 
of drCMtor. I dec no. «fa«™gj^ ^Lnyears ago. when the universe 
Godisasmuch fee Creator ^"^^.JT S. h** ™ c cosmOS iS n °' 
„ we know it emerged ^^J^^^U Mnd'tha. ™* -b.e it 
undent by 0^f«fSS^^» «- ■ *»■* S ^ a, ° r ° f * 

a^l ZS mvorved, an expression of ftc divine purpose , *<"^ 
concept .ha. science, of course, brackets out of its self-IimUed discourse. *-«*afe 
cvoluL (understood* ageneral processas relevant to the formation of and 
am as to .he development of terrestrial life) may be conceived * an interaction 
between two contrasting principles chance and necessity. Both words need careful 
explanation. By chance is meant not a capricious randomness, but simply 
particularity of historical contingency. The scope of possible happenings very greatly 
exceeds the range of actual events, so thai only a limited set of conceivable options has 
occurred- A particular genetic mutation happened a nd turned $"> aream of " fe in a 
particular direction- Had a different mutation occurred, the consequences would have 
been different. Contemporary Christian theology acknowledges this contingency. I. 
docs not picture the history of creation as the inexorable performance of a pre- 
exstem divinely written score. While it can regard .he coming-lobe ofself-conscious. 

God-conscious, brings as a fulfilment of the Creator"* intentions, it does no. have lo 
'Necessity' refers to the lawful regularity of the world. In the next section we shall 
•c thai this had (o take J Win/ specific form if the evolution of carbon-based life were 
Jo be a possibility anywhere a. all in .he universe. Atheist writers who look to 
evolutionary thinking as the great principle of universal cepbnation usually pay 
scant attention to this vital requirement of fine-tuned specificity. On ihe other hand. 
Christian theologians sec it as the Creator's gift of fertile potentiality. 

Important theological understandings flow from these modern iasighls into the 
processes of creation. One of the most significant is a recognition .hat creation is a 
Lnoiic act on .he part of the Creator, a self-limiting of ihe exercise of divine power. 
Creatures are truly given the liberty to be themselves and to make thcmselvcs- 
Alihough all that happens depends upon God's permissive will in holding .he 
world in being, not every event that takes place will be in accordance wife fee divine 
positive will. A dilation feeologian can believe that Cod wills neither the act of a 
murderer nor the destruction wrought by an earthquake, but that both are permuted 
to happen within a creation that has been given a degree of crcaturely independence. 
The errat good of a world in which creatures car. make themselves has an inescapable 
shadow side. Genetic mutation has been the means that has both driven the fruitfti 
history of terrestrial life and also been a source of malignancy. The one camvo. be had 
without the other in a non-magical world. This appeal .o the IcUing-bc of creative 
process, recognized as the source of the ambiguities of a cosmic history a! once both 
fertile and destructive, has been a major component in eon.emporary 
attempts to wrestle wife fee problems of theodicy. Few would claim that .1 removes 
ill perplexities. Christians also have recourse to a further unique and more profound 
insist into Gods relationship to the problem of evil. The Christian concept of God 
is no. one of a deity who is simply a compassionate spectator looking down en the 
travail of creation, The doctrine of ihe Incarna.ion. and in particular the darkness 
and dereliction of the cross of Christ, imply that fee Chris.ian God has also been a 
fcUow-parricipant in suffering, a sharer on the inside in the bitterness of the world, 
and not just an onlooker on fee outside. 

Natural Theology 

After t8 59 the old-style natural theology, appealing to "design' held to be visible ,n the 
forms of nature, fell into disrepute. Barthian emphasis on the Word of God as the 
sole source of Christian revelation further marginalized .hat kind of rJiinkiog, Yet 19 
recent years there has been an important revival of Christian mtctot in the possi- 
bility of natural theology. Hovaswr, .his new natural theology adopts a significantly 
revised strategy of argument compared to lhat employed by its predecessor. 


Sm p not that **»■ * -^ , «cun<nccs. such as the optica, aptness of 
fecund, fte«Vh« !!TrfJS23SSS** «•*" -cthc v.ryba.Ms 
,„ e eve, hut on lh« char,^ ot IK U**ol _ u] jiiUtt of UrtBrtto* 

fa me pssstMft* of any *«™ " f °SSZJ of fife « acknowledged to be 

5* are the -sumrf ^ u " d "^« n brute 6*. arc held to d.splay a 
character ma* make >i .__.!.—. i«« who« answenna 

dander that make* « imdwnair, w • ^ . thcsc laws , w ho« answering 

„i,1 inevrttWy take the in ^ r . ^°"* nding thro ugh and through will lake 
riop « that this farther ^*"£*£ t revised natural theology doe, 
L seeker after truth in a .beta* di~ Ihu . ^ f ^^ 

not U. *ri sd« »" •* °- J-«£ « * ^ ^ „ compleraenl 

that Pale,", arguments were m ^"^Ta'd deeper contest of intelligibility. 
.dence bv setting its msighu withm a b ™ der *" ! ^ lu-questions. The firs. 
* - -" , SSSKt^^StyV^ some kind 
^.^-kic^I^-J^*^; j on at th e level of everyday 

° f 3*3iai!K&ta2 «» to understand .*. such j 
apenefce. but «b»"*£ - «P cosmology, that arc remote from 

those of subatomic ^^^^^tog clfe for modes of though, 
direaimr^onhurranlmr^and.ho^d^ fc wnwri nru.tiv« to 

.^physical uinntc. It is an actual technique of discovery .n fundamental physusio 
Series that are expressed in terms of equations pMMt ** unnu* UW 
ZZ of mathematical beauty, since .ime and again it h* been found ,ha on! 
,uch theory have the long-term ctp.ana.or>" fruitless that 1"^"**? 
validity. A Nobel Pnar-wutner in physics, Eugene Wigner. once asked. Wh> is 
mathematics so unreasonably effete? Albert Einstein once satd that the only 
JB comprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible. 

Science depends for its success upon the world being rationally transparent in this 
remarkable manner, and scientists fed genuine wonder at the rational beauty thus 
sealed to .heir inquiry, an experience that comes as the reward for the long ; labours 
of their research. Science itself can offer no explanation of why the universe should be 
like this, but the tad of deep and satisfying cosmic intelligibility does not seem to be 
something IBaI should be treated as just a happy accident. Belief in God the Creator 
makes the rational mrsparency and rational beauty of the universe comprehensible. 
Science surveys a world whose order makes it appear shot through with signs of 

ik.t ihu U KM k,,.-mc«- it t«. iniii'ird the 

i .1. _ _-,;-_... 

: a;. 

M'ndof God that isrcvwled in the works of creation. On th« view, science is seen to 
JpowHa because the woHd is a creation and human persons are beings who are 
made in the image of their Creator. 

The second mctaquestion that natural .heology addresses is more specific in its 
-Mractcr U asks. Why is the universe so special? Scientists do not like things to be 
^-ial for thev prefer generality. Their natural inclination would be to suppose that 
L universe Ls just a typical specimen of what a cosmos might be like. Yet, as we have 
onK Z understand more and more about the processes that turned ,ha. initial ball 
STnareY into the home of life, we have come to «c that they depended cntically on 
,Hr nrecise form that lawful necessity takes in our world. The strengths and charac- 
5* of die laws of physics had to be 'finely .uned' to what they actually arc for the 
volution of life to be possible, While it took .en billion years for any kind of life to 
.wear, and a further almost four billion years before self-conscious beings came on 
thescene. there is a real sense .n which the universe was pregnant with the poss.buity 
If lift from the immediate aftermath of the big bang onwards, because of the form 
Sen taken by the physical febrie of the world. The «t of scientific .nsights expressing 
this conclusion IS called the Anthropic Principle-, though die carbon principle 
would have teen a choice of terminology since it is. of course, the general 
possibility of carbon-based life that is at issue, and not the detailed spceilicuy of 

H Manv considerations lead to this conclusion. One of the most interesting refers to 
the manner in which .he chemical elements necessary for life came to be ; "^The 
very earlv universe was loo simple to produce anythmg more complex than the two 
simplest dement, hydrogen and helium. The many heavier elements necessa^ for 
Kfe including carbon itself, could only be made later in the mtenor nuclear furnaces 
ofihe stars a & nd in the supernova explosions that scatter the resulnng materia loo. 
into the cosmic environment. All life is made from the ashes of dead stars. Unrav- 
elling this delicate chain of reactions wa, one of the great ^ophy.wal innrnphs of 
iSS half of the twentieth cen.ury. 1, ^ soon realised that the proce^es oi 
nudeogeuesh depend critically on the nuclear forces being equally what they are 
and no different Small changes would have removed all of carbon and of 

° ThTrSlht'pk' Principle represents an entirely unexpected anti-Copernican turn 
inscienufic thought- Of course, the Earth is not at the centre of die uruvcrse. but the 
fact of life is a profound constraint on what the physical character ot the un,ver« can 
be like. To take another example, the vast si« of the observable un, ver^^ , is uW 
stars, is an amhropk necessity. Only a world at least as big as ours could h* M ted 
me fourteen billion years that correspond to the natural timescak .or the coming- 

to-be of sdf-con5daus beings- . . . 

Altagreetha. the observed fine tuning of the constants of nature* necessary for the 
possib ility of carbon-based life. So remarkable a fact does no. seem to be sorncihmg 
adequate* treated as jus. a fortunate coincidence. However, there are f^^ 
abSt what would be the most satisfying form of meta^ient.fK «^J^? 
quite contrasting responses have been proposed. One is the multiverse expbnatton. 

^ ,oHN r<^'- i;HOKSt 

** |uni« ■ ___ — — — 

remans portfolio of universe*, all 

,.*,„ «« M sufficient* "W"^ / of tOUIW . ^ must be our uimme, 

^d^^-^^JSES^S ***** as nppo*- CO «*«tt 
. *, , w pre cathon-bowl life. Sober " - ( , hc exis tence of such a 

JSI d*« no. offer J^g-* ££* - <* ^ dCMb ' C » 
Stanc- *« P">l*f ^SSSSS pe«. 4 nd one ** — V might 
topol prodigality- A" t^to^nSM, 5 ** .here- Is just one «.«,«, 
£5« to be more ontologicalh TT^ ilv because it is the creation of a 

ten a frui.ful history. Enher cjpbn a. *. ^ j^ explaratorV 

-en^c but the the*,** can^u, , *** W ^ ^ ^ 

ins , K htMforc«^' f - in,olhed f P ' SL'*wv work done by the muUkVe** 

of ^ous^ence,. ^^gSETlta. is ■* doubt ** 

SSSSSsssr— — 

Structures of Reality 

h '«"« S the unfolding of absolute tine. Einstein's great dtSCOWnes .nrea.vttUc 
!faZ«S to J«p™» pi~ principally through h, fonnulauon of 
*S » the modem theory of gravitation. Thrs m together spac .me 
L matter in a stogie package deal of mutual influence. Matter curves p ce nd 
,,mc, and the curvature of spacedme shapes the paths of matter Mother great 
twentieth-century discovery, with which Einstein was also associated, even >f some- 
.tat reluctantly, was the phenomenon of ore mutual cmnglement «' '^^T" 
endue that have once interacted with each other (the so-called LPR cftect >. This 
couaterhtwitive iog«heme«in-iepraiion implies a non-local connection oy 
means of which the two retain a power of instantaneous causal .nfluence on each 
Mher, however far they may mow apart. Einstein himself thought that this was so 
'spooky' an idea that it must indicate some incompleteness in quantum theory, but 
many subsequent experiments have confirmed that this quantum entanglement >s 

,.ii :< MunU wiih ihr ifvtrenne sensitivity 

. ^ \ifw^™ •!.;» 

*cnbved by maeroscop«c chaotic systems to the slightest influence coming from 
SSSnm^. » *a, they are n,„ tntly isolate from M?"""*** 
SmTc1«r that our common-sense notion of separable entities .s far from bemg 

U "ffuf See has discovered that teal.ty is relational to an unexpected degree 
^characteristic form of Christian theology .s trinitarian. Its fundamental concept 
f he STf God b the mutual interpellation and euhatp of love between the 
1« di „c Persons within the unity of the Godhead, taking place m a ceaseless 
^T. theologians call "pcriehoresis". Trinitarian thinking is fundamentally 
SSJSf ™ general reLv.ty and the EH* effect cannot "prove" the Tnmty 
BU t theyte strikingly cons,stent with wha, one might expect of the cntwt work of 

sL ,m c nt ford the faith traditions is the existence of consciousness and the human 

SS of which wc L aware has been the dawning of self-consc.ousness here 

I XEarth In tha. cent, the universe became aw*rc of itself, and as an eventual 

£^ e merged the possibility of the ..enf.K understanding of cosm.c 

Socetand history. The nature of consciousness remains an unsolved »W^» 

Si e the ven' interestmg advances made in neuroscence. «»* m .dent f, 
She neural pathways by which information is rec«W and processed, there sstdl 
To S Jrogri in understanding the ongin of awarctt^ A great p P 7*™ ^ 
Z most^phtsticated accounts of neuronal networkmg and the s.mples^ ^mental 
«Lnen<r such as seeing red and feehng hungry. Triumphahst cla«ms thai con- 
XTeiris 1 "last frontier", soon to be crossed by the victorious o< ^ 
rS science, are overblow and unjustitied. °*****»**Z 
not rejoice at any form of con.emporary igrtoranee, but equally « must «*»« Pro 
^ean attempt to cut dtnvn the richness of reality to make rt fit tnto a bed of 

stronftlv encourages the expectation that the fundamental «*««!'•" 
S ^undi.7ndin & of realny must give appropriate recognition to the personal, and 
SZ£ hat the kind of impersonal discourse natural toscience h +££** 

nmteV of the divine nature transcends simple nouons ot pe rsonal.tyl bui n a.« 
SogTizes that in recourse to analogiod discourse about the dmr* « » better to call 

"SJ^^SSK « reahty ^ £ ^2^ ^ 
value both moral and aesthetic. The world that is desenbed bysoH.ce «to 
thHrena of mora, im^r.uive and decision. Christian th.nkmg re ogn », ,h 
S«« e of ethka. M possessing a certainty a. •«»«*£»* ^ °^ 
forms of insight. Our conviction that children are not to be abused or the poor 
p"^ i To a convention of our society, nor is i, some«d 
strawy for superior genet.c propagation. These mora, conv.ct.ons are mstglus mto 

w ,o,is ro*lH«« SE 

.KeofatfV und« S ««cbour ethical to Ik 

The phyd-l **<«* - ''^ h „ X' response » ft* ^P-« of *" ££ 
human experience of mW* J ^hM to lb. nWr of speaking do* no. begm 

j , JBsti ff » the im*«.ou> inith * "J* compt)s „ion. In aeflhet.c cvpcnencc 


,jo« i, pcutu ih« vrarid at bong ium. *^ ^ «,„„, „ 

„*1 to pan *u to,™, b» ™^!^™"£ L. had „ »»„gl, 

mature, bu. to. creatures cannot act upoa an mp^bk God. There »< °™ 
Zfe i. idling this «■ *lh >hc,,. WW *« 
God is to l . lobx. * •« However it is not dear that remedyng to defect require* 
JIX J™-*"-- ""* <***" *^to «hink .hat ^^"^ 
stronger account of divine U sufficient to act a* a balancng factor an 
nation to dmne transcendence. Those who take this latter yew emphasuc to 
importance of Staining a clear distinction between Creator and crcatK* in order 
Moid identifying God too closely with all to evil in the world and tn order to 
make sure that the One who is believed to be the ground of the hope of a desuny 
beyond death is nol caught up in the eventual futility that is to predicted late of the 

present universe. 

rVncntheiiti lend W think of divine action in creation after the analogy of human 
intent ianal agency exercised within embodiment, often envisaging some form of 
divine top-down action on the cosmos as a whole. Others seek a different way of 
conceiving how the divine energies might be at work within to world. All have to 

*. «.me shift to understand how their ideas might relate to srientific accounts of 
^ rl ' s. I he top,, -I divine action dominated the agenda of the Chns«,->r, 
T m 2 Xence and rehgion n. the ,ooos. The proposals made were diverse, but 
mln tome n many was some form of appeal to the demise of a merely 
! TaS ceTunt of physical proems that h»d resulted from to twentieth-century 
rl«rie7of to wdesprcad presence of btrfnsfc m science* 
^m of Zm. Th Junpredictabilities arc present both a, the subatom.c level 
Sw. theory and at the macroscopic level of chaofc 
SSfcMU-S - « epistemological property, and there « no «^^«^ 
? f om eDistemology to ontology. What connection should be proposed * not 
^^Sf™^ ^ne (the existence •***««"£" 
^ d rn.Ss.ic in.erp.etat.ons of quantum mechanics makes that P™**g 
!^«hT for all i^ues of causal WWWW are ultimately matters for mctaphys ual 
rS'cltid by phys^ but no, settled by it. The* who take a rcahs. v,ew. 
S h" what w know , a .e.iable p* » what is to case. w... mchne o 
2 unpredictabilitie, as signs of son., form of ontologtcd openness, fhe 
c 3 IcLnt, based on the «change of er^gy between Constauents, then 
i 1 ^considered to be a total account, so thai tore is room for .he acooti 
SrrlTpn^-fo. eKample. a top-down influx of the whole on to 
^s! cleivablv relalng to to input of information that serves to speedy overall 

agency » «n ..^ ^ lo UIM , <lsttn d divine agency than human agency 

SlW in di.fca n ion i. «. mote ««««* ^>«" W » >»"« s ' >""" ,h * n 

ft JOHN FtfW*"-— _ 

.. n r ilir-rrator freely to have accepted such 

«. «»* ««.«• * -J S ^ ^ci -o imply . im* * **■ 

- -**"** " a *?I^ 5 a current omniscience <knowm E a 
„,**»» result^ '" ^^HLlulc omniscience M 4 J* «■ 

sssass -- *■**■ - ,o kno * ,he to ,f 

the future is not yet -hoc 10 ^^^ ^j^d >,i«h the picttu* of an open 

Other theological consequences a .^ in n . 1ture , .here are also processes 

a^HC.V^c^.^^^^,^ one mlgh( say . ne dock . likc 

whose outcomes arc •* tf ^f£wh« peering the faithfulness of the Creator. 
p«-«^«-^^*r2iSltJ S -nstblc to pray for. a point 
,„ .„*,««. there « 'T^^dri.. *» he said that one should not 
re^toed by Ongen fa '^^Xmrner. In regimes of cloudy unprcdict- 
pray for the cool of spring m ^JitoZS^fcS'"*^**-^ 
iiflity it is not po«*fc » daenrsnjde all ,hf ™ ^ duc t0 divinc actlon . 

ltow*i«««ybedwcniiNel>yiai m , _ ^ ^inof.hc-umverseisonc 
An .CCOU* rfGod penally at "J^SS S» But what about 
il-^^.^»*^^^T«-«. elation that ^ 
dto of the mnato«^ ^°Ta general provided of this non- 
anno. be supposed »tar been the «ute o -^ P n ^ ^ 

"-•^^^^^^iSS^r^ of that kind could only be 
asiuguw ^ , lfl : A „- ,-v^nts The rea problem oi miracle is not 

Z-t rXthcred to do tomorrow, There must be a deep d.voe constsirncy but that 
Z « onfau. the deity to an tUMrpug regularity of an unperson* bnd. bke the 
££. actkm of gravity. God's convey lies rather i« a perfectly ,p^n£ 
rdatiouship to actual circumstances. When those c^ummnccs change. dffBM 
,«,„* nwv also change. A impersonal agent may fitting* be believed to ad m 
Znxcdentedw^inunprecedenteJdrcurruunces . The role of theology ,n re buon to 
minde is to discern this deeper kind of consistency, a task which ha* to be undertaken 
on a case-by-«se basis, since there can be no general theory of unique events. 


Science predicts that after immcnsepcriodsoftime.thc universe will end in futility, 
either through collapse or (the currently favoured expectation} through long- 
drawn-out decay. Christian theology is challenged to say how it responds to this 

-nnsiieuion of a dismal fate for ere rt in. The issue is the cosmic vers™, * 

^Pointed question posed by the even more certain knowledge that every 
r. £11 in death. Z regard to the latter, |esus pointed to the faithfulness 
55 i thTground for the hope of a destiny beyond death, affirming his trus to 
1 God c Ab«ham. the God of Isaac, and the God of lacob who is the God no. of 
h S bu, of thelMng' (Mark » »4* Thepurely naturalistic story thatscience 
ttd does indeed end in filfiBy. but Acre is a further theological story that can go 
wond thTdemise of thi, present universe. God's ultimate purpose ts that this wodd 
^ TnshiKC in the course of whose evolutionary process each gencratron must give 
nTe next will be transformed into the new creation in which death wdl be no 

,„ grow from the seminal event of Christ's resurrection. iriMhm 

^recent years there has been some serious discussion tn the forum of ( 
Jlne about science and religion, centring on how one might begin to make sense 
5th at escha.ologica. hope. The key necessity is to find a balance between 
Indmiity and discontinuity in the relationship of the new creatton to the oki 
Thr2« be sufficient continuity to ensure that it really is Abraham. Is^c and 
u2 who u* again in the kingdom of God. and no. just new characters who have 
%£Sm ** old names. Yet the patriarch, cannot be made auve £>»££*• 
"gain There MUSt be sufficient discontinuity to ensure that the world to come u 
frred from the transience and death of this world- 

In nllhn thinking, the conventional carrier of continuity between this world 
jSSSHm I human sou,. It has often been conceive d tfe. the^ ^lajon, c 
pat. m of a detachable spiritual component, released from the body a death- Such , a 
dX paure of human nature is not essential for Christianity Many Chmmo 
Sogians take what is in fact the predominant biblical v K w. that human bcjn*« 
pSiomatic unities, animated bodic-s rather than mcan» ed ™ k *" l <*"" 
Z what has happened to the human soul? U has not been lost, bu « «e* »be 
^Sved The human person is certainly no, to be idcnt.fied simply wth the 
XSnl atoms at any cite time making up the body. Those atoms are changm 
d he time through wear and tea, eating and drinking. Wto cam« pcrsonJ 
fontu , r this 1 fe is the almost infinitely complex, informauon-beanng pat ten, 
rlctLse atoms are organised. This pattern ij the human ^sou L an tnsjMha 
is . revival in modern dr«s of the Aristotehan-Thom.stic idea of to soul as*e 
form of the bodv. This pattern will be dissolved at death with the de«y of the body. 
St t pcrfecUy coh!-ren, hope that the faithful God will preserve , in he div.n 
memory and ul.irnately reconstitute the soul's B t m an eschatolc^ca! act 

^Tt^oodimen, will ha. to be in the different 'matter of *£»££ 
Ae ain it is a Perfectly coherent hope that God will endow tins trar^tormed matter 

dynamic drift to disorder that is the source of the Y^^^T^ZZ 
belief in the empty tomb implies that |eW nsen and glonl.ed body was we 
^sform oThis dcL body, so that in Christ there is the hope of a destiny for matter 

-m. -.«.! virion h not .1 second acl Of cretitio ck 
B ftffe - «dw ^**« J '" ™ ; M intimaK reMonship -*fa «hc Bfe and 

sfss sssk;. — ^ «■ wu * "^ ** *"- the 

2»W freedom » «*22fi rf death and «*««&«.. not spiritual 
^Christian hope ,, formulated m tern ^ ^ ^ ^^ 

sumvul. because Ch„*. "SK^jSlwiDe angels. Humans arc 

abo intrinsically temporal- Our ?«»">* " m wiU „ ot ,* boring . for fulfilment 

«* to *n* ^thc g— J3JS Ski «* *e divine nature tha, 

Refer b n c es andSogceste^Rjeading 

—J U.M «l,n FraGSCiSCO: Hfl*P« CoUlDS Publishing. 

£X;I: ML and «* HvtssmK. I. W. 0M» <«*>■ ««<*•* ™«*W' ««* *"« ■ 
. ,rj Rapids. Midu 3«dmanv Psbtahmg Ox ...-.„ Pr „ 

■ .cooa. A JL CM9»- Thedogy for c Stfwn^Agft »**• *** SCM Pros. ^^^ 

^»o. I- C * W>. SHtf* <W & - *«f S«« NVw fW *k Umvers.ty 

-Sbw) JJ,r rid offhand A* E^tf*" WW* New H*s W «* lW,ily Pros. 

_ <»ii'(«(D. lV*Wrtf L«r. Grand Rapids, Midu Etrtor* Publish.^ Co. 
SuMOIM. N- (iboj). Kiw *»>« mi Modem Seiner. Cambridge Cambndse Utammtr 







.n ,1—1 „_,..——- 1 i -im —if ■■■ 

The *™ ot isbn and modem along wfith it* progeny modem techno^ 
coiinue* todav * one of the most auda] faced by the Islam* l(»^ " b« 
STS LLl*. «0 be, addled by numerous scholar, riUn ««™* 
nSlv the whole gamut of the spectrum of Islamic intellectual actrwfy «nce the 
Sf em^rv F.iLm being nLnt, ** tat** hM - *e sub^t g 0« 
Sdt Tn fact to the beginnings of serious intellectual encounter between the 
Mamie wotld Sd tL^odern West, in the early truncentWmnetcenth century. 
,rrilb«« the m*** movement in me Arab «ortd, « V*H «. smuUr mo- 
It!, Persia. Turks, and the- Muslims of the ^*X-*^3SS 
«Z £Tl« ta -ho attracted figures as different as lamd al-Dm M d, 
< I A^him) and Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, Zia Gokalp, Bed.umm Sa,d Nur«. 
Mur^mmTd u,W. an/ the foUowers of die ^^, movetnen, «jd «. ^ 
tLcs. the various shaykhs (hUte « well « practtfoners of modern «.ence, 

^elnlhe'Sdays the interest of Mnshm thinkerstn Western science^ to 
some extent, tcchnnlo^- was due to their talMd *«lcj^ ^35 m 
political independence, al least on paper, of Mu^m lands. Aetata* t <rf^» 
SOwamcnu in science and technology today is almost always because of «hai mey 

I „n grateful ,o Ac editors of 7*e »!».& Qw^ *>< *«**» » "^^ ,Ws P**"" 
(The text ba« been revised by the author.) 


h -.h« ii be eeaiwaut or military, and not wisdom. 
,«, is their need »**^SLrf ,he so-called fundamentalist* in their 

In feci, an *^^ maA !^jZ^^*<P»^ VS ^ S ^^^ e T^ 
WS^^'^S'SS'SSSS 5** =.nd the whole Islamic 
tnelid. *en« ■*■ " ] - *" of * „*;„« remained inl p C rviouUo the difference 
SlccuaJ mM- £•"£»; ^SSSifc inking the depth of 
,*««, the goo. of *»*+[»*** f£L«* « »**■ » ""» ™ d ** 

perfecting of the human *>ul. on the ^^ ^ WongitIg lo 

^ «te -hnk «**£*%£ 0* can understand why the blind 
», * readdy. m the ^^ce «d **«*» *« ""-ft""* 

praise and almost *x.rsh,p of ™^ foW , d ^j ilicd , Geological. 

e«ryi*« among ««£ rf J*-J^22 which 5 om CS u.y pcopleare killed on 
an d,ud,c.a] diflfcwncc *J«y one sew a *« i ^ ^ ^ 

» cher site and "^Zt* <^° Chechnya to Kashmir to the 
en^mter of Musfins witb other* "^JJJV ^ llld one5 t0 fae massacred 

„d -de^ed". Yet thisdes- ^ ^nTnSndahle on the emotional lew! or 
whhoat critical appraisal, no "^™T t KfIii{B hecdieii Smiths that 

T I'lLl «*«-* Wb« -ything else to analyse modem sdenceand 
subject it to an in-depth criticism from the Islamic vie* by is mean 
not^sn any view that claims to be Islamic by combining the externa) mcamngs of 
seme verse of the Noble Quran mtfa -Jl kinds of concepts and tmt imported 
from the modem West, but me view drawn from the Islamic intellectual 
tradition, including all its branches, and understood traditionally and m the 
most universal perspective of Islam, rather than through theological or judicial 

A Critique of Modern Science 

I I- ■ iw t* 

In this short presentation, it is not possible to do justice to a full criticism of modern 
science from the traditional Islamic point of view, a task which lias bec-n carried out 
to some atent by other scholars and the author of this chapter in Other contexts, 

although much still remains to be accomplished.' Some or the essential points need, 
however, to be mentioned here. 

The nr*t, which has even reached pulpits throughout the Islamic world, is a 
negative one. It is the refusal to even Study Western science critically, often as a result 
if a kind of intellectual inferiority complex that simply equates Western science with 
the continuation of Islamic science without any consideration of the shift of para- 
dittrn and the establishment of a new philosophy of nature and science- during the 
Scientific Revolution, events which distinguish modem science sharply not only 
from Islamic science, but also from its own medieval and early Renaissance past. It 
astounding that some not only simply equate modern science with Islamic science, 
but also try to apply the modern philosophy of science, based upon an agnostic 
science of nature and often in a mode already out of fashion in the West, to nidge the 
veracity or lack thereof of Islamic positions. 1 

The second point concerns the relationship between a value system and modem 
science Imtead of cxiUciihig the implicit value system inherent in modern science 
from the Islamic point of view, many of the champions of the blind emulation of 
modern science and technology claim that it is value-free, displaying their ignorance 
of a whole generation of Western philosophers and critics of modem science who 
have displayed with irrefutable arguments the fart that modern science, like any other 
science is based on a particular value system and a specific world-view rooted m 
specific assumptions concerning the nature of physical reality, the subject who knows 
this cxiemal reality, and the relationship between the two. 

Modem science must be studied in IIS philosophical foundations from the Islamic 
point of view, in order to reveal for Muslims exactly what the value system is upon 
which it is based and how this value system opposes, complements, or threatens the 
Islamic value system, which for Muslims, comes from God and not merely human 
forms of knowledge which are based by definition upon human reason and the five 
external senses, and specifically deny any other possible avenue for authentic 
knowledge. Muslim thinkers must stop speaking of modern physics as not being 
Western but international, while hiding its provincial foundations grounded in a 
particular philosophy and value system related to a specific period of not global, but 
European history. Even a 74 7 Boeing jet is not global simply because il IS now landing 
in Samoa as well as Tokyo. Beijing as well as Islamabad or Tehran. Rather, it .* the 
result of a technology derived from a particular view of man's relationship with the 
forces of nature and the environment, as well as an understanding ot man himself, a 
view which many forces in the modem and even post-modern West are trying to 

- See, e-g., Burcfchard. (1972, .987) and Bakar (1991). As for mv own writings, see N» 
lUf iWOA 1993". i-Wjfe WSSh s« also the MAS Mrmtl o/Mwre Science, ed. M. l*V* 

^Tcasf in point is the potftnis* and rationalistic philosophy of Karl Popper, which. 
already seriously criticized in .he West. U adopted by a number of people, -peoat y tolnm 
and Pakistan, to cvaluale and criticize ihc traditional Mamie eyutemologie* and philosophic 
of knowledge, including science. 

7A 5K r™ D >.s-H-*A« 

— . , „ urt m d ma's r«l.iuoi. 5 hip to 

jEnkn. Si- h «• ** ^STSdhis.. and Hind, ones in the ft* Bu. 

SS ***** ™ tht T^ the tTn-^cal chafer at modem science njelf 
S be, has «*bi« to do ** ^r^ mft in our you*, helped » make 

tom b w hKhki«cdmaK«han^^ sdeafists dunn g the H. 

„. w speak of the .**. »^jiS- f £ m os, humble demist, who would 
penod M««* *< —* 21 m t* helped .0 destroy numerous species » 
Sr put ihri. *« «• a "»*** pledge and its implications cannot evade 
..,,■> cation. As . matter of tart. Jn^S ^ ^ ^-a^s on 

rfftrf imp^tior,. Modem «™^ £ c , 3ira w knowledge of the world ,o 
MlB „.indudi B gth e ™hp «.h> rte^S ■ fom ^ Cltadc , of 

pocry. mym, or. e« ««*. ■£*"* "J, re J ns of ethics ,n «be W«t is 
E* acceded knowledge ^J^^H* dosc in many «*» ID the 
e^iy from the Abnbarmc «£»2£J (he Abiahan1 ie traditions' claim 
epical prinaple* and pracbc« of «*^^H to ue3lc a condition to which 

to-kw-^^^^^S^SKe U" ^y. since it does no, 
to ethical hcrtep fa hemg ^ JT ™£ of SJ in fc ino d=rn world, 
correspond ., any ob^vdy accept* 1 knowkdgc * w , he ^^ of 

Nor should Muslims ever th.nk tha to J™*" n jn the We$l would not occur 
Chrism". and that ncga-ve rtbcal con^u no* «» «> he ^ ^ 

in the Islamic world Such a ^^T^X^^ *»""«* ° f ^ 
Hut superficial and shoddy ^B^^T ^ ^ ^ unfortunately ha. 

SEEMS Sr^^nidern W *. - - 
'"2 b needed fa a posttive Islamic critique of modem science, based on know- 

K ■** »d the Liang subject. Muslims must be able »-"£ 
.rational bbnfe intellectual space for the con.m,™ rfteBj 
vicwof thena.ureofr^ity.o which Islamic ethics corresponds. ^*-£2 
leghimacy of modern sciences within their own confine. Other** no matter how 
^:™T-- L*-. ^n,k,. nmv. the di* D lacin*of the Islamic intellectual universe 

w oa e drawn from modern science, while it may make Islamic nch and 
L nil will dertroy the hold of Islamic ethics upon the larger Islamic community. 
« one observ-es no. only in the case of the Christian WW. but also among those 
Ltanlwd Muslims who have abandoned most of their spiritual and ethical 
^ntiM in the name of "the scientific world-view', propagated on the one hand by 
IT now mostly defunct Marxism as a pscudo-rcligtous *logan. on the other hand 
footed as the flag which unifies *o many secularists, humanists, and other ant.- 

,4iaious forces in the West 

And finally there is the most essential concerning the at b«t neutral 
J [u de of modem science concerning religion and the paramount rdc of science in 
25 = mental ambience from which God and the eschatological realises are 
Tent and. therefore, finally unrcaV. Numerous Western writers have tried 1 ,0 show 
Si science is not against rdigion and doe, no, necessanly deny God and many 
JZ have claimed the same. But during most of these debates, rehgion has 

CU kn.wled S e of both supernatural and natura! reahty. w,th the result that 
Zr centuries after the rise of modern science, it is religion that IS now ma.g.nal.zed. 
SJnot scu-nce. Occasionally Western theologians, usually in a«e of modern science 
2 W «hb or tha, snentific discovery as conforming to a particular religious 
Sing, unaware of how dangerous it B to correlate that which possesses the 
Sorter of absoluteness with a form of knowledge which *by definition, transient 
Xigh it doc reflect certain metaphysical truths if seen from «hc metaphysical, 
and nofsimply scientific, point of view (Smith .984.- This type of shallow corre boon 
iLeddly VJhfcni these days in what is now called cosmology .n the West, which „ 
noting but the extrapolation of aslrophysics, and which has nothmg ,0 do w«h 
Oology as tradtiionally understood (Burckhard, l&J. For years, many theolo- 
,L have l«cn e^c.ted by the big bang theory which, they darnt. accords with th^ 
Ual and even Quranic understanding of creation, and many symposia have been 
held on this matter. Meanwhile, many cosmologisis are now to deny the 

reality of the big bang theory itself. -.„„„„? 

The significant pomt here is .hat there musi be a profound analysts and cnuque of 
modern Science in its relation to religion from .he Islamic t^*™*£* 
totaUv opposed .0 that enfeebled intellectual reaction firs, accepts the lh»«, 

rJieTto torture lh» or that verse of the Noble Qur'an or a particular had,th to prove 
Islam's conformity to this most transient form of knowledge, whose P^«^" 
no. from the iliumination that i, provides of the nature o. reahty. but frrnr » the fac 
■Ml it leads to the acquiring of wealth and power over nature. ^£^2 
founders, Francis Bacon. What is essential to show » that m modem scencc th. s er> 
•topotberi.- of the existence of God is redundant to the system. One can be a famous 
ph^cist who is a devout Catholic. Jew. or Muslim bu. -dso a ««S22 
is an agnosttc or atheist. The reality of God has had nothtng to do w,,h ,h« **** 
modern science as seen by .ha, science, and God has been called b P^ » 
unnecessary hypc.hestf. Today, the world-view of physics Uself ts changing, and 

. . no j-od an d consciousness as fundamental to 
^T*^«hc"^' ,,U T !£! fr* U tar torn being KCtp«bk to .he 
£?£!:«. mechanics ^^^vicw taugh,* rfceonry correc, and 

Howcanl*m««P« ^^;; n t ^lam .he universe without even referring 

^ *«aiaT W » ,,im 7 X " oMucb the Not* Q"-m speaks °" -Iraos. 

.othelVanscenden. C-wnfaD JJJJJ - ded ^y ^found answers to 

^» Traditional Islam* iho-jw J ^fc^terittdasbemg 

JH* wh ' le ** %£S3S existing ^Iknges which would come 
part i«.b,lv krdt of response* « ^J* * J^/^ors. Tto h «liy. h 6* 
J^dose m drpth » »* a,WW *"^ t1«i«ed seriously in alternative view, of 

^c «***»**! ^TJtlfL .he Muslim thinkers of old than in contemporary 
p^liw arc much more mteacHcduiine „„„, a h «hhy relationship 

Mudim thinker*- There If no way » ™ " ^ „, ^ of any system 

The Question of Absorption of Modern 

Western Science 

Ite over a century various Muslim leaders, whether .hey are religious or political. 
Ee^TK rapid and com^c absorption of modem «-»"-? J 
S, adding, L pi«B remarks that this act must be combined with the 
!S2. rfbbL «*£ There n, however, no po^biiity «f absorb^ modern 

££ be .he type of adoption based on blind emulation rather thafl .udiaous 
M "hat oi *«- L marry Islamic countries today without such a.tcmpu 
^ep, modern science ft, «. having led to any notabU saenttfic activity and 
creativity which are Islamic or .0 the complete absorption of the modern saences. At 
best, it has ied to contribution* to the prevalent modern science by men and women 
who are Muslim*, but who* hlsrouaty ha* had tittle to do with the science to which 
they have contributed. If there were to be a successful total absorption, however, .he 
impact upon .lie very fibre of Islamic society would be much greater than what one 
see* today, precisely as a result ofthe current lack of total success in the carrying, out 

of such a process, 

The adoption e-f Western science can he carried out completely only by absorbing 
ibo its world -view, in which case the consequences for ihc Islamic view of reality, 
both cosmic and mesa-cosmic, cannot be anything but catastrophic. Nor has it been 

rfierwise for other idipeMB Those who keep mentioning the case of |apan should 
W K not only at the success ofthat nation Kicnrifieally and technologi tally, while some 
,f its traditional institutions such as that of .he Emperor have been preserved and still continue to wear kimonos and use chopsticks. The situation must he seen 
font the perspective of Buddhism and Shi moism and the spi ritual havoc wreaked u pon 
Ibe Japanese religious l edition, causing a major social crisistethe extent that now some 
in lapan are speaking about the 're- Asianiiation" of their country. 

Wlul then, is to be done? Digestion of any external substance for any living being 
involves 'both absorption and rejection. If we were to absorb all that wceat without 
rejecting some of it. we would die in a short time. The case of a living religion and 
civilization are similar, and. lest one forget, Islam is still a vital and living religion. 
and even the great civilization created by this religion, although partly destroyed not 
orl ly by Europeans, but also hy modernised Muslims themselves, is far from being 
defunct. Islam and Islamic civilization cannot adopt modern science seriously 
without rejection, as well as absorption, without what one might call judicious 
adaptation and absorption, based on the principles and nature of the living reality 
which is performing the act of adopting and absorbing. 

If proof be necessary for such an obvious assertion, one needs only turn to tile 
history of the Islamic world during the past century. Rabid modernism, blind 
adoration, and emulation of modern science have certainly not brought about a 
major scientific renaissance in the Islamic world. A kind of shallow scientism his 
produced a large number of scientists, and especially engineers, in live Islamic world, 
without spawning a scientific activity which would spring from the heart of Mamie 
civilization itself, from which many Western-trained Muslim students of modern 
science find themselves alienated. Those with personal piety take refuge in the great 
sift of faith {oilman) and continue to pray and recite the Noble Qur'an. but 
intellectually thev feel csiled from the traditional Islamic intellectual universe, 
which they then begin to criticize as not being really Islamic, thereby creating the 
cleavage in the Islamic intellectual world conspicuous today in so many Islamic 
COUnlnes. Moreover, this attitude toward Western science has helped to destiny 
much of the Islamic humanities, ihereby creating a vacuum whose consequences 
are evident in many parts of ddr ut-isiam. 

What is needed is the rediscovery and reformulation in a contemporary language 
of the Islamic world-view, within whose matrii alone can any foreign body at 
knowledge such as modern science be studied, criticized, and digested, and the 
ckments alien to that world-view rejected. Moreover, this wo.ld-vicw. as tar as 
the cosmos and the whole question of various scientific ep.slemo logics are con- 
cerned, cannot simply be extracted from the Sacred Law. or rf-Sfcarf «, which 
embodies God's Will for our actions in this world, nor even from riildrn. whose 
role has always been to protect the citadel of faith from ralionahstic attack*, nor 
still from jurisprudence ial-fiqh) understood in its current .sense rather than » i» 
Qur-anic meaning. Bather, it must be drawn from the «Mf«ftah. which lies at the 
heart of the Noble Quran and raWifA as expounded and formulated by the trad^ 
itional commentators, as well as Islamic metaphysics, cosmology, the doctrinal and 

yg ^wrr.'"^"--^ 

-it ET1 — -~~ 

A**as rhcmscK-tt, 3 Only in ihis 

, 1kUU | mditn*. *«"«» *** aUlh , nllC Wtamfc wor.d-v,ew mso a T as it 
,t.menuli*ts. can one N-M*" ■■■ . whoU . qU «uon of the levels of 

Low.. ''' ^ lh :'f S'ot^pond «o some aspect of ■**«*«« 

bodv f knowledge ^-'' d ^° ' ^ ngS m. P k C o P icr S «dm.ula Wf ,Th c 

calls d :Jl 


Islamic Science 

« m ^authentically Islamic science' is a long one, yet a 
TV n»d u> the achievement <* an aatne* i ^ ^ ^ ^^ a 

™d that an* be wrtri ^^J3KSSS ^ 1 will mention ■ few 

,„ lh e milestones on d* ion* ^^^fc attltud e to*** modem 
I The nr« necessary step " io*to| -in q ^ choflnc ,s1amie world, where 

F hflo»phenofsacn«intheWesiiUcii.noi a d society who, while 

sssnS:^ * £-£ -£ — ta — a ^ fi,kd 

• Manvofmywri.ii.gMnd.^^^ 

^TTd S^bSid .be, the o^-n made fa «*- M *- •• »« «* 
Itafc^SH being • form of fundamentalism. TW b a «« enfe-m based on a 
£S££» J by the Western media, loaded with ^^^^ £ 
L, employed by whoever the power* that be in Ok We* do no. like at .he moment An, 

d«Js' and iu rise. By that loft*, yow grandmother and who neve, 
rited a pra«. in lb* lives, were fundamentalist grandmothers. Furthermore, to draw 
e^fte Lrn the mode™ Wet and to *.* why there must he an Islamic »e»« <*«£«* 
is nc. Chmtiao science, is to misunderstand At whole ofmodern Western intellectual histor, 
ud is .. *rn* to ptacc ibe ^cv.Ln/aiH.n ,>f the tamai ind ihi scj-" " lC "' n •' * e k,MJW|CTl '' 

erf the wmU from rd,gicm as an rwnfk and ideal for the Islamic world, as if the religion ol 
fAmbwedonunitTtai-TH*' <.!dewr accept any formal irreducible duuii sm. 

kklv by Western positivism and scieniism. creating tensions between external 
q |ctY and submission to ICfcnt&m that are bound lo have own more catastrophic 
LUuences in the nature than those we observe today. 

This trend must he reversed, and the whole of modem science and technology be 

^.j, not with a sense of inferiority as if a frog were looking into the eyes of a viper. 

hut from an independent Islamic world-view whose roots are sunk in Allah s- 

revelation and which could be compared to the case of an eagle who roams the 

horizons and Studies the movements of the viper withoul being mesmerised by .1. In 

light of this world-view, the whole notion of decadence in Islamic civilization. 

HMdally si far as it concerns the sciences, must be re-examined. The West mast 

nn Ic-nRer dictate the criteria for renaissance, decadence, etc. on its own terms and 

idenufv scientific prowess purely and simply with civilization, conveniently forget- 

na that one can go to the Moon during the same time as teenagers are killing each 
other in the streets of the country which has sent the astronauts into outer space. 
Onlv by basing oneself on the authentic Islamic perspective can the mfenoniy 
complex so widespread among the so-called Muslim intelligentsia today be over- 
come, and the ground readied for creative scientific activity related to the Islam* 

^fal Tbae must be an in-depth study of Uhe traditional Islamic sources, from the 
MMe Qufan and HaMh to all the traditional works on the sciences, philosophy, 
iheologv, cosmology-, and the like, to formulate the Islamic world- view and especially 
fte iic concept of nature and the sciences of nature This arduous and jre 
necessary task must be carried out within the framework of the Islamic intellectual 
tradition ilieU. and not simply by going to certain vers* .of the Sacred Book of «n 
Uken out of context, and interpreting them by ourselves, by a m.nd usually cluttered 
fav ,deas. L«u«. and ideologies as far removed from Islam as possible. Surely dm ,s 
onc of the reasons why the Noble Qur'an refers to guidance m these terms: He 
leadeth astray whan. He willcth and guideth whom He wiB«b ( 16. »>. 

Men can be misled even in the reading of God's Word if they are not guided by 
Him. How quaint a, best, and worthless at worst, appear those interpretations) 0* he 
Noble Qur-an and Hmtah M. prevalent today among a number of Muslims tn the 
West, as well as among an army of modernized Mnslxms in the Islam* world itself. 
Only the revival of the traditional Islam* world-vicw can provide for Mushms 
,n authentic alternative to the current Western world-view whxh * ^ «>w 
undergoing profound transformations, and in a sense, dilution rather than 
being itself a second-rate imitation of the Western view with a few Qur amc verses 
interspersed to give such types of interpretations a ring of Islamic authenticity. 

The rediscovery of the authentic Islamic world-view, especially as « concerns the 
sciences of nature, also necessitates a deep study and understanding of the history o« 
Islamic science to which any future authentic Islamic science must graft jtsell to 
become a new branch of a tree that has its roots in the Islamic revelation and a trunk 

.nd earlier branches which cover the spa" «' n™^*" « nturi « ° f ^~ »Z 
Unfortunately. Muslims have not been as active a* Western scholars m &^«**». 
history of Islamic science, and those who have done serious work have usually been 

v. SET"" o---^ 

„f the role of bbimc «'<™ e ,n "* 
. hv ,h, Western understanding or™ di o( thc history of 

m *,«! * * de-top- lin^h KhqhB rf , h « 

, h- beer, challenged even b> son. dj m , his dom:lln 

£^5i«* 3 »**%SE2S «"« S ^c crucial field of 

Mui hi* been P'cpanM *j- W*J p ^ fa ^ hilory rfltac 

don Whatever ** """*" of L ^-n scene* the intcr«l of Muslims 

„»« h«. be to undc^d **"*£ p ^ ^ ^ ^ mcU , 

to nh*. W .he «•« «** ^ ^studied from the btattk po^ of vtcw, 

a,, apprecuted for f J^^X b«* i">P° rtam ^ ^ ? "* ^ 

HMd, it need* to be ^F hiB ^ '^„ h , rc * a Lso *n t*W* history of Islam* 
fctofc philosophy of W-^JfJS ««* to •- ****** ^ 
«« and even histoo JjM- <" ^non-Muslim sdH&H&lp on th.s sublet 

points of view.* B-*hMtaiB should be allowed to study at the highest 

^ _£, of Mudu* ■ * - h £cs gr ^ ^ West calls pure 

1ml the modem B^*/*?*^?. Iafee numb« of doctors and engineers 
«*« I, the IsUtn-c ^^^ aspect, of science, 
to ^parison to those who ha* *ud.ed tb P ^ ^ ^.^ flf ^ 

iUC h „ chcm, 5 try and biology, and ^° can ^ broUght abouI . 

^ "SS^tttl^ of «*»*, rf~ and 
pBd * the land J^2SS^S5^ * "" rCtC ' VinB ^ 

^^^"tLny have uidabou, our «PP«d to ** cultivation of 
«SrS«. « Have never ad^tcd *&*, ■" ^ny easels no a 
!Sr^S memen, of history. Rather, our propyl has been to m^tcr u, he 
ETlne, modem «». ^ cnt^g its theoreu«« ^ ^^d^S 
M4 then dirough thc mastery of these sciences, to seek to IsbnudM sc.encc ^Sy 
Sng fu, Uf e s^ «to the .siamK ^Id-view and d-sttngajshtng what , 
Kf upon ^ienTrfic facts' from hew that ,s interpreted ph.losophtcally. such as 

. I Wu ght 10 la, uk foofidanon for such an approach *lmo*t forry years »s» «hen I to 
began to derive my Saw and Gribtkm in UH« (1987): «* »•«> F° rd « W^ 1 - In '««" 
y«n.a number of wwfahaw apptawdby Muslim scholar* following thul.rve of thoughL Sec 

ejj rh? workj of Osman Bakax and Sytd Nununul Haq. 

, h , ..ntienphkat structure ol tnc ninwayas or mc sc >»,.v.., 
L hcSuarading a, scientific facts, such « Darwinian evolution. We have never 
iCe^gnonu-ce 8 especia.fy for a religion such as bUffi which based up 
nXS R e must confront any other school or mode of though, which l,ys daur, 
^1 knowlV of reality. How sad it k in ftct. that in many U.mic country ruled 
b T^rs which claim to be- pm ^rons of modern ««.« the genera, aurfjyrf 
Suction has declined in so m^ny fields during thc tv.cnt.cth century, as a cursory 

AUe rh and Cairo University reveals. It b impose to understand, cr,t.c. K 
'n St or transcend any form of science wife.* d«p knowledge of *. No amoun 
Xanccringand emotional outbursts «n repUce knowledge, whose pnmacy the 
NoSfSSn "confirms in thc famous verse. "Arc they eoual-.hose who know and 

.hose who do not know?' (3S- 9)- , . . 

No one working in an inorganic chemistry lab can follow a fomuib of 
££*** rather than pursuing the chemistry otah.ishcd by Boyle. Ulster 

2 fences and imbued with no. only piety but also knowledge of the blame 
SS could transform this science in thc direction of an U.armc sctence of 

la ten s in ^ «« «T ** with 3 nCW ^^^ °* ^T f A Z 
SLa ^ and secularism, seventctnth-century chemusts created the 

LTdSbW upon dte cadaver of the long tradition of alchemy, whose mner 
n In gZ did'not even comprehend. In any case, any hope of ^a new 
S Z history of Islamic science which could integrate what «*««"* 
mm modern science without causing the denth of the Islam* «« of the cosmos. 
Z "ly upon those who. deeply rooted in .he bhmic worlds. ,lso know 
Hodem sciences at their highest level without havng J™-^^* 
Ld absorbed by the philosophy presumptions and secubns, outlook of these 

"aX those Muslim who are scientists but not functioning at the boundary of 
thei «ience they can at least point cut the theoretical lim.tafons of Am scence, 
5SSS scSntism. the divorce of modem science from ethics and the nece^y 
fc Sims to empire the significance of ethics as much as poss.ble. and the cr^s 

in mans rd.tionship with nature and in .he hamtony of nature ..self. ^^« 
point to ail phenomena as ** of God. with a beyond lh«r ma^ml 
realitv (see Kirmani m^-> where he deals with thts and cctiarn other .ssucs msed m 
W pape?« Th !ti»- How paradoxical it b that while many Musl.m pohttcd 
SXrae^Se factL MusLs are ^called behind Western scence and 
Sofo^SeSuS wodd b ca, up and even ^ or surpasses many 
1L of Sc West in its destruction of the natural ^™^*£ f^ 
consequence of the .pplicat.on of modem technology. Ahhough dui ^ «on 
for alther day. one can hardly refrain from <™^!^!%£J£Z 
Muslim thinkm, indtldtog KfenOsU, to revive the authent.c Islam, c «cwof rutu e 
even before the act of the complete integration of modern **ncc mto «be btanrie 


wtmd* "V - 


* c*i*i* and (lie Environment Crisis- 

tI^*^jS?£rS «-t of «hc application of . scene* 
Sns which <hc «hok «J«*e 2 Tnd forgetful of God. on ,h < °* h * - u 

diS from etW* on J^^ElSE -* "* *? J J K 2 ' 

„ j, Ih ,v who, along «.* £2SLk« Mother or thestudymg 

,, „ lhey who. ^"*^S„ of other p«WiW-fo 
„„„* Uan* nwnal space for the ita ^ ihai ^ 

SU -prf^ 1* '^^JT n medicmc. while faceting the death 
double-edged S*«d I' *"*323T, WW** authority as the late Pope W* 
Of milhons of the unborn » **3rf£ S» of death' in the M* 1 hu 
rftattg when he ** of ^ Jj**^ ^ ttCnott w b.le bdng « 
brought about ■"'">• f^^rnomhs to feed. It ha* purified the water of the 
indirectly the cause of many m °* ~«on ( lhcir dr. And Into h not even a 
cities in the West. rtfc «£* »^ Uu . ^ ^ ^ av ^ no 

question af.balancngact.f0T f.h.n^c fa of ^^ 

^ce. Such , tragedy could occu "* ^ * {ne6 m ^ CI con trol over his 
his dagger to. a nuclear bomb jfco*J£*B J ^ ^ ^ „ ^ , h 
passions, the nf al-am «*^J^ rf J^ 5cicnce which, combined w,th 

JJld or^i-ecture. SpA an act would no. . nl ^Cgr « C conse ,«co«. 

2StS«-»t bed-W forcer. A, ^-f^'f";^^ 
, a being created » North America by Mriin physical and one hope, hat flw* U 
\L Le who « forever mesmerised by what is going on p. the Vfailo beg o 

take Uk wdi.i*»l Islamic soences more seriously. In «h.s dorm.n. m fact, **.«« 

A,, day. and such ,u«c*fu! institutions as die Hamdard centres ,n Karach. and Dclh, 
should KW « modeLs for other Muslim lands. One can hardly ovneraphMjK the 
importance of the role of the revival of .he traditional Islamic sciencts -n <for a\-«im 
in creating a bndge bemccn the traditionaUy learned scholars and pracUUoners oi 
modem science and as one of the major means of reviving the function of science 
within the Islamic intellectual universe. 

Id Oneof the most important s.cps .ha, must be taken to create a wru^e. ...... 

' tc " to re «ed sc.cncc and ethics, not through .he person of .he K.cnmt. but 
T «h the very .heoretical Sttuctnro and philosophical foundation, of sc.ence. As 
through «««^ ^ ,. k m lUe modcrfi ^, r ,d between saence and 

S^ST^^W cdl which is primarily Christ -responds JO. 

hum anismancn ^ a , |crnalive fa conftm ed. The 

jS an environmenta! c*.«. while simply accepting the saenunx tnW 
l?as being alone real, have had little effec, in the cont.nuous destrucfon of *e 
" Mv Zment What is needed is knowledge of .he cosmos that fa congruou 
Th [ZZZ "unhS* of meaning ethical norms, are drawn 1E1 all 
J " .Son from the religions which have founded them (Nasr ,»6). Thb », «f 
^a "sk foTMus.imThcolog.ns. philosophers, and eth^n,, but must ^ be 
ZZ bv icntto memsel ves. There ,, in fact, no possibility of an authennc 

S to ethics only by practiUoners of science who may or may not be ethrcal 

^ ,hev produce. These questions become, in fact, even more urgent as new 
StKSS- and Sio-engineenng now chaueng, the very foundat.oas of 
ail reliijious cthici. islamic or othcrwix- 

A Word about Technology 

then-s-slvcseven more dqxndcnl upon me moi. vnur 

upon one kind of technology: namely, the modern mthtary one. But the me true 

" ~~ r cthn forms of technology, ranging mxn mc 

h onf inv o' «>">*« 0< man> f Juries remain receivers ot whatever the 

Lto« of Mrfa «J«** %£Zn certain wtotoU*** such as thenuclea, 
iral ... «*•*>*«» h ~< "X*! considerations- The result b that mos, 
m )cnicd 10 ,hem as a «** «« £■ ^ VVcs , than lhe people «.r ihc 

JLtncmnrtrks-atoday -J^^poTth* British during .he I* center, 

n0rlh -v.-<*ieni provinces in Uk.. tjon 

I. this demain. * m «°?* "I^Ttedmototf and its u*. K must be "a 11 " 1 that 

noting can be f^^^T^Z^^ ^mediate problems without 
directly linked to .he ^ *^'" wwld ^vc in the longer penod and as ,t 
. **, of .hat their pro^ - ^^U ^ God. W** and also God, 

cOT rio n ^«n«x«ed.A\'ncTC^.l nJ dehumanizmg effc c of 

* 0S e in the West »* ^^Su* Mumford to to* Ulich and Theo- 
rem tech-Kdogy. ^^SSX" ^ *« ,hc >' - ^ ^^ 

WL en— enuflV and ^JrJJJJ ^ -gjl S a* >- IM 
loadisnqmwtrfthci^lcfmorWamicsK agriculture to 

SS countrie/Lr hundred, or thousands of dollars^ this J**^"* 


SU ch • the World Bank and .he IMF followed politic* dunng the past decade I ha 

«, f directly rela,edtomcd«truction^^^ 

atmosptJ. Muslims must have their gaze always fixed upon me Warn* teachings 

• Thii i. not w say Hut no Muslims haw addressed this question, but one can hardly 
ceruider h u a main concern of .he present-day MusUm imeUigerusia or « having «n» 
effect upon government activities, dep.t* .he writings of a number of Muslim scholars. »k> 
a. Hasan Hirufi and Para M»M and several Muslim scholars who have been associated 
wi* the Thud World Network (see e.g. Hamfi and Muw m»L See also Pmtttutgs OfJHl 
r.-.aniMMt Srmpouum StiaKC Takmhgy. md Spiritual Urines— On rfee Ai«M Approach to 
McdermzHum dc*?). which is concerned with Aril in general, but includes a number ot 
ours on the relationship between technology and Islamic society by Muslim schulara. 

onccming the butt (#»**Sfin) for lhe protection of not only other human be ings.but 

lhe whole Of the Earth, which Cod has placed upon our shoulders, [dunk environ- 

cr.ul ethics must be revived in lhe context of lhe ShorlWi and the Islamic view of 

Lore *>n <r> e ***•* of ,hc NoWe Qur an and muneC0Uil """"S 5 of lskimk **&* an <| 

w over lhe ages, and the iwo be made the guiding principles and the framework 

all technological adaptions and development beyond blind emulation and even 

immediate human interest*, not to speakof the tragic demand* of the greed thai caste 

its shadow so strongly in this debate. 

Concluding Comments 

fn conclusion, it " necessary to repeat that any science that could legitimately be 
a U e d Islamic science, and not be disruptive of the whole Islamic order, must be one 
tha t remains aware of the 'vertical cause' of all things, along with lhe horizontal, a 
,,-ience thai issues from and returns 10 the Real «Mfe«>. Who is lhe Cause of all 
■binRS Such a science has been cultivated by Muslims for over a millcnmum. It must 
now be resurrected, the Islamic philosophy of science and the Mamie world-view 
reformulated in a language understandable to contemporaries and. tn their tight, 
modern science both critically appraited and judicially absorbed into the Islamic 
intellectual universe, after which a new chapter could be added to the already 
illustrious history of Islamic science. _ at . 

If an authentic Islamic science could be created, upon .he basis of the tradition* 
Islamic science, while absorbing those elements of modern science which correspond 
to some element of reality, be it only .he physical, a major step would be taken for he 
authentic revival of Islamic civilization itself- Moreover. Islam's refusal to accept the 
divorce between religion, science, and philosophy, as well as science and, could 
have the deepest consequences for the whole of humanity now standing before the 
abyss of annihilation caused by the application of a science based upon lhe forge ting 
Of God bv humans who have forgotten their role of protector and steward ot His 
creation. Only a science that issues from the source of all knowledge, from lhe 
Knower (ai-'ajfm). and thai is cultivated In an intellectual universe ,n whtch 
the spiritual and lhe ethical are no. mere subjectivisms but fundamental features ol 
lhe cosmtc, as well as the meta-cosmic Reality, can save humanity today from this 
mass suicide that parades as human progress. Let us hope mat "j«***^* 
human history, lhe Islamic world, as the bearer of the message of God s la*, plan, ry 
revelation, ,u> rUe to .he occaston to create a veritable lslam,< science whach would 
not only resuscitate this civilization, but also act as a major support for those all ove 
the globe who seek a science of nature and . technology could help men and 
women to live at peace with themsd**, with lhe natural environment, »<*"^- 
with that Divine Realm Who b .he ontologual source of both man and the cosmos. 



islam* Soma. «r jj-v* . . Ajwc(S o/ T«uow™£ PwKmrwry 

N*qu» -Aitav sv» 2^" ^^I^Uhi Academy of Science 

T*** - « *™ P ^£^ ^CambW tdamk Text Soccy 

Sal!*. Ill- Sherwood Sugdcn & Co. 








The diwmty of people* «*1 cultures indicated by the term indigenous" makes it 
somewhat ambiguous. However, .he local and international struggles for survrval at 
diverse tribal, folk, local, native, and traditional people* has given focus to the usage o 
this term. Indigenous knowledge is increasingly used in rievdopnvmt. polmcal. and 
academic settings by indigenous individuals and, or those who support 
them with regard to authenticating and controlling the vray* of knowing created by 
Ac* distinctive societies (see e.g. Sanders 197T. Jaime* i«W Ihappan lW i;\VtImer .993; 
Alfred 19951 and Smith .999). Moreover, the appearance in the consultations and 
documents of international bodies affirms the usage here of the term md,genous^ 
For example, article . of the International labour Convention .69 
regards people as indigenous on account of their descent from the populate which 
inhabited the country, or a geographical region to which .he country belongs, at the 
time of conquest or eoloniwtion or the establishment of prcs«rn. s.a.e boundary and 
who. irrespective of their legal status, retain some or all of their own soaal, economic 
cultural, and political imiiiutioi* i«ewebsitefor .he Office of .he High Commoner 
for Human Rights al vfw«^nhchrxh/html/mcnu3/b/6a.htm). 

86 |OHN GBI ^ 

, ln this definition ate important. Hid wffl 
TV «mn g «aal and political «»£* of lhis lnffl emphasised by indigen. 
be Rioted to 0* «*• * «Jte *■££■■» urrtori* «*** 'f ~ 
l^munit* de*rv* -^gl ltldlS enous spokcspcoplc have dcscnM 
Swfa. language. *"***«* *X„ k^^erfgc b* « W™^*^ *££ 
E d— * - "* T* e JTiS^«h« refer* «o -£**"£"» 
«Bfc*wrf«^^*"* ^^Ln*«« of knowing lhc **" <n>bcddcd in 

Lrjrcian^ships w.«h ^*SmS rata fltKStton* »t»m the ways m which 

nes5 a, . people tod<8~ ^Igtoc world, mdigenous ?«*•« draw cm 
„ fiK ,ion. In ttafi diver* ->-' JggJ ^ ce of ecosystems and «K 

^n^ f --^j^SIa* «*■ «**"» and ,he eS2 

naofai differences '".^T" j ^-hoUr Linda Tuhiwai Te (zooo: 
£5 ofecrve ****** J- ^P** * W storing bo«A*ft and a way of 

«I^fa^~^£^ri*«i» i« SP «ific Maori context, to,. 
The rirfom transmitted »^««J^J lf ,, morfi tha n environmental poetry? 


that is actively pursued in relawmsmps u. * . rati „ na Litv, or a factional. 

^JUS^SKS! hJnan experience wit, the — 
sTiS v7^T U born of a lived and storied participation with the natural 

to- seL-based relationship witb the non-human world, the general terms knowmg 
and knowledge axe preferred here. 

The .ration is to distinguish indigenous knowledge from Western ustges of *c 
term 'science'. A, Filcn and Harris <*oo: 6-») jwirtt out. io^cc has .U own 
hirtoricil roots to local, embedded, experiential, indigenous, and AMD knowHedg . 
IbMni varied the historic! roots of science. » a way of knowing it gradually 
disengaged from any particular community to establish the ideal of constant qu« 
itonin; and re-examination of the assumptions lh« ground knowledge. Science ha* 
no 'lifewav' concept thai draw* il together in commitment to a people, their ecologies 

f meaningful place, and tbeir cosmologies! identity. Science make* no commit- 

. .a s« Kh (01 b^ance'. eittor as the compromise between v.ews or as a 

SiS hat potions one to a final religious or metaphyseal value. Scienc* strive, 

£SS *£« «*#**** e^cr. m enta„o n within an b*e,,e matenahs 
P S Tver attentive presence to any inherent dignity or meaning of reahty n, .ttdf. 
"'S^SSk olimtton.the presentation of theon^.ar^mc intense debate^ 
JSSin «-"« " e hutnan-^Kd. The test of scientific conclusions abouuhe 
*£lZJn penp«t«« and technical instrumental Se-ence abo flows backmto 
fc »™IS- «•»« of human communities. The feedback loop m scence begins 
nd eXith the human, whereas with indigenous knowledge the othcr-than-huma* 
«rStT nd voice to communit)- consideration, ACuaHy. the em-ironmenta. enses 
wSS policy considerations on behalf of species and bio-regions that present 
^ S tlbKuesUom for science. Indigenous knowledge, on S»e other hand 

mmWes often stand for voices in nature. For bod, science and indigenous 
S; ' t Itiottops w,th personal, social, and poUtica. modes of po^ 

Sc^cnfcofany equation of .ho* 

Z*Z« been mbuid and co-opted by corporate power, so £»d*"« 

towledge has been diverted into fonmof personal and soaal nV™*™™* 

Fmallv -he use of scientific categori« to record indigenous taowMpW* >» 
J3L a global and univeml mode of knowing; but indigenous '--^^ 

o be more local and specific. ™«< is a wnhff P rob,cm in '^ '"*? ""^.^ 
SLTquic closely L to commeraal tol«- ^us. the use of any seien.ific 

Sri« to describe- indigenous knowledge suggests that *^ of ^™ 
ShTtn-flrined wi,L a corporate governance structure fe va.u« . ^U 
Si owr nurturance. and profit over distribution. Two «M»^^J 
S for understanding knowledge among indigenous people. Fir*. *^*~ °J 
digenous knowledge ,nd its ongoing fragmentation m the «^™J« « rf 
lhal caoital is asserted. Second, this assertion calls for a closer understanding ot the 
^acTof i for m s of indigenous knowledge, mc.uding their ac^U.on and 
transmission, within the contest of indigenous lifcwsyv 

The Relevance of Indigenous 


While often thought of as remote minorities, ^^J^^?^ 
and diverse nonunion of more tlun soo nullum peoples in Africa, Soum 


, u t!u . Pfldfic region, Northern Eurasia. 
fcfc South-East A^^^* and r^cs « «t UW». Often these indigenous 

Mliona! « nom,c 8^««r TJ J? loEging . and oihtr «wcb« activity ,n 

Nfthtt wW* d«D«tt Uk w W»«' Mwe rccentl) . international eco- 

auon-sute* » Wdl 222SS agree™"* vith govcTnmcn.s that mask 

fflcrgy product.- on nou* >£Zg£ ~£* »- '*»» iMble d " d ^ 
^posed « «n««co»us ^"« ^ ^ p^ectives .end lo disrmss any 
nuit Development pnnecfc moirvatea ^ ^ indigenous peoples, 

^^^^f'.r^jirf on £c Ll Often. 

Knowledge «n the OTD ^ h W Sro tmuries of oppression, «, «ha, their 

«*^— ^ P ' a ^%^t, e^i " In relationships with .he land 

be^me fragmented The '^ "^f^^ „d ibe maintenance of diver* 
indigenes world vsovs. lypK- r , ^ form of systematic 

k^Sgc, argument* could be mad, that eroded nauvc peoples da,m3 to the 

^^Stobnul penchant for poativistic science ranked the ways of 
JSX^U. - ^Wopcs. of indigenous peoples « fa*n«. *W. " 
«*«£«.. The term tataU the earner colonial dan.** of 
iad™* knowledge, bttootingly. .his term has been ^appropriated by some 
„*hr peoples » descriptive of their experiences of a »bnond exchange wrtfe 
^ritual presences m thc wild. Bird-David (*») snggests thai the concept of 
j^™ needs » be irvuud for what it has to .ell us of persons-.n-retoionsh.p 
as emerging «d maturing exchanges that mult in indigenous knowledge. Tha. M 
knowing dial recognizes personbood in both the hum*, and die presences in the 
wodd from which mutual privileges and obligations emerge. Indigenous knowledge 
from tKb standpoint is described as a relational cpistemology. Tuhiwai Smith (1999) 
further explores bow indigenouk knowledge noi only flow inward, informing a 
people of its relationships with self, society, land, and cosmos but also flows outward 
affecting relationships with dominan. sorictics. Indigenous knowledge, then, can 
mull in contemporary "decolonizing methodologies'. These are contemporary and 
emerging forms of indigenous knowledge thai guide .he work of indigenous scholars 
in reasserting the wholeness of fragmented indigenous communities. They do ihis by 
mean* of research and development feom the standpoint of indigenous ways of 

ron.empc.rary indigenous ***** "*» *" ecosys.ems in which they rcstde as 
■Tl tcrLiivc wholes are described here by the term -Ufcmft The close c.nnec- 
£ between territory *»d society, reltgion and politics, cultural and economic life. 
, .he imcUwlual and emotional basis whereby indipnoo* peoples nuintam ^nd 
pirate d,cir knowledge syMem*. Indigenous lifeways as w^ys of knowing the 
Tare crescnted as boih descriprive of enduring modes of sustainable Irvelthood 
^ nrrscriPlive of wba. Pec. and Watts call ecological imagtnanes (1996: 7). These 
J rc d«p. attrac.or rela.ionships between place .md people tha. activate acuing. 
mindins. and at the Heart of cuhurai life. 

LiSy* publish the panerns and the ways of perceiving, or sens-ng. die world 
MoSeTtodiBti™.. knowledge « minding flows from the eonscous conceptual 
%££££& -Id in conjunction wi.h m*+ Thi, fel. c-xper.ence of ^ 
Tenous knowledge vs that of world who are muliuU, «taeri and 
Sent on one another for surv.val. E. the knowledge needed to and 
Se^Son of power tha, enables survival. Knowledge resides in that place hat 
nd Lous people speak of (Cajete «oo) which is not 'out there. » , m, 
' oS of separable knowledge. Rather, the place-based knowledge of indigenous 
\ZZ is emlxlied in dynamic often expressed in oral narratives and 
* S P « sending through mdividuals to .he whole hfe common^ 
T^^e dynamic relationship, in mm crea.e restdts in the complemenury flow o 
ISg ^ minding in «ifev,ays which enable innovation and creauvtty „ the face of 

"tSoTways of kncnvingorientcommuniliesto adapt to change, heal sickness 
T f™dta the numbine reaUty of dea.h. In the W«t .here are deep mol.vattons. 
SAJS giv/urgency and ethical ^Z**£j*£* 
Kd eadeu limits .f. he human condition. Overcoming death by any P«^™« 
Sn a nigh priority m the W«.. esen when .his tnvo^s introsrv. «hnolcg. .ha, 
Sh In? L orgaoic n,.ure or body composition of the humar , on «.* »* 
Th^se millennial drives relate to biblkal notions o. . pertecuon reached tn.b, end 
umes and do not appear in this symbolic form in indigenous tradtuons. nto*" 
Tn Idisenous knowledge b^dly conceived an orientanon .0 survtvnl mat foster 
SXSW in I whole process of existence, than « **£**»% 

As Lrov Lu.le Bear observes (aooo: *l), .he mterface <^**^*2I 
,? ^ no an j Kr , waS5 establishes an educational context thai is co-creat > 

Ue hinction of Aboriginal values and S^J^S^SSi^^ 
erealion Wgether. If crea.ion manifests nself in term, «rcyvl «al_ patw» ^ 
the r«m.teoan« and renewal of those pa.tcras if f™^^™™^ 
par.icipa.ory par, .ha, Aboriginal people F lay m .he ma.ntc^e of aeabon. 

93 ion* 

^n^ei often results in meaningful 
rtodei ■<• «■* * Tl 010 *!!!: iTl J« need AM »* understood « pnmotii* 

need nM be understood « promoting 
vernal. ^'^^T U i"Smm« cm-uonmemd wisdom". Rather, i, 

on be aid*" ""^ lL jcs tn4 j oral narrative! to Urg« Cosmic 

taunmf* bating .hem *«™Tr_^ 0BnwBU l cri*. feeing hum.v ,.y. 

An Overview of this Project and 
Questions Raised by this Topic 

Thi. chafer *ck* «o «pl« * to ™ 1 «"■>** * thOC divc ^^ igen0Ufi *"* ?' 
^ 2™L wm of fawint but afeo between indigenous knowledge and 

SSv 3*** «prf to the I*—- «l ? nation erf oogenous 
SSL usin* the ideas and rnethods of Western, .JUghlcmnciil ihoushi rvpu- 

MMAteMal contract theory, private property and urtvidud rights undat- 
tnd via* of *»»■* governance, and adertttfc views ot the objeeUvnty of reality. 
This has had the effect of decontcKtiuliV^ indigenous knowledge, so ifaal some 
aspects IK adapted to «»tifi« ^legoncs while other signify native domains 
lodes, tnd cjriarnwlopes are rejected as unassimflablc. 

. w Arun Agonal tW? 4^5 points out. it is helpful to rememba that 
COTswucring a 'sterile dichotomy between indigenous and western* may amply 
obscure idtu and practice* thai unnecessarily coDStrifl peoples' considerations of 
powntal krinwledge transfers. Indigenous, knowledge shares with Western science an 
ethical mjunoicm to know and to describe the world u it appears in both itA local and 
iu eosmolopuil ions. Both tatard against presenting themselves a* count" 
ogy In ihemidvcs— that is, as standing in place of the world itself. However, their 
ddfercai approaches and Concern* tend to bring these ways of knowing to entirely 
diiTercnt potilionv iri relari&nship to reaJity. Science requires .1 critical dUnnce from 
the object of research r.i find principles of explanation, whereas indigenous know- 
ledge ctiflWithes the means ior individuals to search for transformative meaning and 
for communities 10 find iheir pbee in the larger community nf life. 

Question* liftgcr. then, about which -ipprojch to understanding indigenous know- 
Jl|, mo« appropriate. Certainly, positing a deep structure' for indigenous 
v o^icd^c reifies a shared resembUnce of indigenous Ufcwryt that ls expnsttd so 
ntaneously and differently in diverse cultures. Richards <i993: 62 > <hjuTciift« the 
TL of indigenous practices wch as farming being grouped in such » "mLspiaccd 
LttactiW a* indigenous kitowledpc Using the analogy of n^usicians who train on 
•hdr moments and then adapt to particular needs. Richards lilcem mdigenous 
Vinowled^e to an adaptation of agricultural resource sMs and cechmquei- This 
^phasts on performaiKe knowledge i* rirnfaf to the composite approach suggested 
kdow in which time, space, authority, and spiritual presences are proposed as 
coalescing in engaged knowing. But an imprrmsationa] ptrformance tailored to 
each usage and dectsion-making situation hardly accounts for the cultural depth of 
mJ m forms of indigenous knowledge. 

options surface when indigenous knowledge is desenbed and discussed in the 
lamruaire ideas, and values of a dominant society. Is there an indigenous knowledge 
Iheory in the same way that there is scientific theory? In what ways have the great 
rations of Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine interacted with Asian tndi^enou. 
knowledge systems? How docs the ideological wock of academics, supportmg the 
smde for recognition of indigenous knovilcdgc. rdaK to the desTlopment com- 
munity* erlbfts to build infrastructure for local communities who rely on local 
resources' What Motivate* politiciMd obstructionists who camisiently attempt to 
block narional and international recognition of indigenous knowledge practitioner* 
as hiving valid claims to land and uxxuhood? Have indigenous knowledge systems 
been underwood, or even beard, in their own languages, voices, values, and ept- 
stemoiogkal positions? . 

This brief overview chapter explores several of these tssues by considering t)>c 
oranic relationatiry of lifeway, land, and indigenous knowledge- as mutually itAc 
acSve piocesscs- While d.rfcrcnOy described by divertc native peoples, indigenous 
mp of knowing arc- not «m P ly about creating systems of knowledge rather, they 
bring into possibility the Irfeway itself- Instead of bemg understoodas an abstraction, 
indigenous knowledge is relevant, experiential cngagem**! by a people with ecosys- 
tems and biodiversity. 


Contexts for Knowing 

The S ipn,ii««« of life*,)- as a conccpl fol understanding in^nous kflo^-kdgc <M 
be holh m^htful and limlttd. II b iaright«ul ioofa * « :MP " '" OB 2" 
undenund the broad co^ology-aini-economy cflntai m ^ name Xnmledgr 

M roitHUKif*- — - — — 

• t j., r»irtc (SOQ4) W^ 1 '- indigenous 

„d lindane. Thus. mthgenous km* '^ h , rellKS , ,.,sl al hand to the 

ta— reahties Of the llicway. I k UV ^ tf nD , 5lrn p]y j personal 

„* „d wtooloff 9+" «**[ "S^^h vital presences .n the environ- 
VencaueU engage, as *f^^ irh g i«s . larger meaning to the wort, 
„«,«. ln d «d*» - «*» : "22J TJ^ nfmnt ic images of torn. .tmc less. 
Ufewarcanbcaun^g^^ ^ ^ , he WOT , d of ch,n S c 

.historical socicb* "*>;*"**,; 2U&« if ««de«tood « a «mn of analysis 

S-*riK^Bfc*f^J^ rtoilndi gmuui know.cdgcon^ S ,ot™U 

.fi^panerr^bybc^andicrc^n - ind y^ip systems as smpJar a- 

this *n« cneaonic*. k»mw <™ ^ ^ indigenous knowledge 

^n. of Sfo-P. «*««* ^£«rUw and mutual oflj-* rationality 
5£a. A , ^'-^^^Xr^ idcr the SWcmefll by the Gifts. 

the snotoon* thry Coiwy. -.w^i— s- tlwfiratthtwro— provide a wW 

uuuin it arc one. 

Her* Ihfr long cycle*, ioutafcd as *fcfo* «* presented « a body of Gilksan and 
Wet^e* knifed*- *'*» Hun » Hm body of knowledge hoover .hey 
are described «. living, •brwlhcd' archives eonncaed lo social m^nrtattoa po»i»«l 

tfuiutrratadw'breatWir^ "» n f nKCl the 

pergonal wwnat* intention «f i practitioner in the larger field of Gilksan and 
Wcu'uwiin knowledge. Because they arc oral, these muricul transmissions can be 
adjusted to the maturity of the learner, his or her level of Tclatedness to ihc land, a 
experiential knowledge of the holist icordcr. Thus, die song cycles arc not &«d« 

m9m ,,„.-„. |,ut accommodate different pcnonal learning and leaching rtytes as 

^ "comparative aside, it is imcKMiBgu oben. ibal todd «i«« method* can 
m, n0 date ami undenwnd the ebjecfcve foral!. of organ^Hon Jnd pdmcil 
SSS etrhedded in imiiRcnou, knowkd^ Howev,,. the aifectivity vOn** 
SSe embodtment e^t^ins lh« knovWse are heyond the purview of ««ufic 
CL RnliuriM P ir»ed through r ™»"l «pcri«c« of aneest™! btctffa. for 
^1 " ^ reducible to « a e« units uf «Jy«; nor b il fabiUbk by mm» o 
^ZmenWi nwthod ftather. the miUenn.ak.nj tr,„umi™on of mdisenots waysof 
wri b grinded in personal acompUAmen. and responsftiliry. community 
ZmL and approval, and ecok» 6 kal r« P cmse and susuirabibiy. 

The Gtfkwn and WeWuweten ddcrs state that the ceremonial settinj? m which the 
J-are performed mvolve a«<u and Mories of the Uncage of aneesms. Tlwc serve 
^Tb-anlirte and affirm individual and grcup claims to subsistence nghts, trad- 

£Sf una*.* ■- >**<»*** "* bnd and ^ ST 5 : Mnc ™T JtrS 

Sh epbtemologicJ insight into the nature of time, space, autf.or.ty, «d 
S pr^ce .hi arc not s.m P .y ob^ive. reified, id abstract to P K,. Rather 
J^Lsapr ahos, strongly suggests sensory participation in anc«trai knowledge b> 
tZ 1 J— betic «pencnces rf »dM V»M emotional, and socul v^y, ,f 
Sng. Tte«ving of sensing, a.-arer.ess. and create appears to be a 
SS -ode of indigenous kno«in & that has urtually no parallel in Western 
natural wiences, social sdenccs. or humanities. 

I as in a 

Traditional Knowledge: Time, Space, 
Authority, and Spirituat. Presence^ 

1„ U* abos^ ouatc the Gilksan and WWtaeite Mat iilff«t that the *!*«*«* 
"of I songs mn S poas men^r, into mythic time- Tnis lead, jo«&d»n 
on the wap in which multivalent modes of indigenou, know edge not onl T«P«* 
F^ticohr di.nens.oM of an tod^-US Hfeway but actually »»"S 
Lcasbns for the creation of that l.fev«y. Even bnef «T^g™£^ 
topics, however, hdp to illumutate tte interface of ttvdtgcnous knowledge, hfeway* 

"Sgcnous way, of knowing notions * time « cedent wbichare «»* 
dirlerent from the linear arrow .mage of time, or the n>eta P hor M^K 
the abtolu.C character of pas., present, and ru.ure. Obwously. the knowledge cni 

p Jli0 n whh time. By 'deep' •> -■-, more than amply a my^sa. ^"^ 
iUer. indigenous knowledge in its diverse express*** se^fa l» .nu t ratc 

IXIaUafc k vuui nfniftufljimiiv" 

loHNC"" 14 

l. -miofinc the wsrwisivc interactive, and 
--.^-•"^^^SSf SS *l ** world - - *-«■ 
,»£ presence**- - gJ^AI W "*«* «™ s P» wte "*« 
adaocmrc place* jj ^^ ^rTwhen i* « «wgd - *c tmmediacy 

£ « «*M *"" ' "^ TcTbShJd - . «Hd-vio- linking land. 

teW» leaders, fo< wmj*. o Hqk ^ wc „,,«,„, to w of 

bouse, affect, ancestors, '^TiL* ^ « it establishes social oration 
^ " r " fcC T^,\« tn,on^«o com P k* contemplations on fimel 

sunr ind***. p*p»« trawwi "T £ ^ nd ^ enl v F»f example, Stcwm «d 

Swlnem f**4> cJeacnbc how *»»P | ' rt ^y ldcnlily .hrough 

Southern tEfl*-* provme* of Papula. <*■« , $ ^ ^^ ^ 

W S£^ rr^-m^ -fa «miduTW««ly generates soeul staMrlv ,„ 
3bi- needs te ««mp«»r. -H*« <*-*- ™» ?*f T! 'tn , w 

Eto. A* dx« no. simply filter out pragma.*, .in* in favour of * myth* tunc, 
bid seems to bruit- both to bear iflwo one another. 

.rwhgenou* bsowledgr embedded within complc* cercmon.aK * not exclus.sdy 
faiuul-ito is. it doe* no. exdosrvely imolre an com- into extraordinary ■ spacearui 
umroutsak the orcWy. In fact the opposite b ihc c^B tad||eno» knowkdgc 
matufoted al peak cocmoafal nwrneflB h 3! deep and abidingconncctions both with 
omordiiury p««nco such as aaosors and spint pov^ri. as well a> with ordinar)' 
evenu iucb u a«N- nuking, girdcninc, gender rales, and healing pneficec. Tunc e 
i l c -. it wmi, to an mltrpretation of .ways in which <pa«, iUthority. and spinl 
pjesoKO rronifial one another in the ceremonial and symboJ- malting context* of 

ind^cnoui knofiedflt 

Aaotha oun^le » prended by the Dogon people* of Mali. "Hie Dagon of lub- 
Sihiran Aftca eonlinue lo telebralc a masked feuival | dam.i) whose explicit foCM* i^ 
rrbunal of the dead, and whose implicit emphasis, is on affirming the inheretn power 

a iMpmulbaities iniegral » «pee<h. Having origin-ited from lite animals of the 
ifd, The ceremonial. Aamo> was acqmrol by women over time. Yet. by me»ru of 

7.; . ,,. „ itewaoiBlh an lobeatailepiivtt w»«taafoe gender •n4«g 

j ns TU&C strict divisions brtween women, ihildrm. and the dancers suggest 
S^aaraatiowl and gendered facets of the interface between Uordii knowledge. 
Lj\rtd Bfciwy. Moreos-er. the song>, masked danc« of adolescent Dogon, and the 
™«h« of Dogon elders a. ,lam„ are understood as the contest for 4 'second burial 
\Z dead. Fischer'* analysis (M04) susfcsls " interpretation in which ihe masked 
Li«l f JdHM the reburial of the dead, the concerns about speech, and the sender 
ZZign* all involve aspects of Dogon knowledge. That is, all three M* about the 
JJUy. a, well as being fH t»f ifldifcnous knowledge that rmat be enacted « 

order for the lifeway to raist 

UK male nusked dancers, the elders speeches, the gender prohibmon. on Dojjof 
coditv as a whole— the* all coalesce as entry into mythic time at •fanu. In this way 
r Dogon create a ne« existence for the de*J-*a. of being an ancestor-whtch 
^U r»ale control over ferulity and reamrrm the spiritual tracer of speech. Thu 
Ltolicated and «r-cbanpng cexemonial brings together Dogon know edge of 
S.d presences bt uhe bosh wnth speech that aho comes from .he wild bush_ 
•n, c 'reJn of the no- longer-remembered dead as interact^ presences tn the buA 
Ire enacted fcv die Dogon dunng d«m in a complex weave of time, space, authonty. 
ndspintual pre.«nce, Rathe, than a simple progression of past, present . and ha.ure, 
Zc i a self similarity, a fractal logic, in which the authority c elder, the power- 
Joeing land, and the animal spirit presences are all imaged as ahgrted bodies with 
Lr ^ form, Amids. .he gender conflicts, the ^^^^Sttn 

he spoken in efficacious ways, and at the nght time, so « » »ffeet temporary 

eosmological harmony among those bodies.' rjimM , n 


.dtsctrssion of the interface of knowledge, land, and ..few*. The Walpu, ,^ *£ 

Pfctupi peoples of Centra. Anstralia use a variant *M^>*^ tl™ 
conciTtofsr^tualpre«^t-»s-c«molo^ ^ t H S.«ner|avc 

Zs on ^ through his ttetriptioo, of D« as "one ^dt^thmg and 
eser^he.-- IlisehpUC interpretations suggo. the unificand eosmological character 
rf S» as wc'l as pelt towards the integral f*--**-> ^ ««• 5 ^"- 
wthority, and spintoal presences found within these- mdigenous hfewayi. 

. jjca Dogpn ethnog^h, related to UV <fa» M see Gnaule (M^wd £{~^* 
(.J) AertdLe oTGrWU. method aodRavdting «*- Otalpewd ean be »«d»« 

"Gunner <t,«. «). banner wa, the firs, ethnc^aphe. **^f££gj* 
Aboriginal peoples U r Au,tralia proposed I oarratrve ofanU U> "f^^.^™'* 
cTs £«, vatid fasovdedge aoJ a basis tor moral fa*. For P.ntupi peoples « M r aM«W. 
for Wilpin and Mytej peoples see Bell urny). 

, , Wf ..wren «" ibc sub- Arctic Myu^ 

IvTJ tilila, **° a,t t ' P "" * TJ rrc^ripuons that the Koyuknn oil 

im . in , «■***•» •^SJJSS*. J. down in «h« Ke^Jam myth,* 

.™|oun. ■ " I" »»■■*■ B ^ d011 ,^' f irttawr arc transmitted ■« teachings 

"of fce pri-nJ pea** « ™^^££ hunted anhnaU and gathered 

...1.™,;. OT moral force, «•*'* t0nu: *" ™ , . . ^WhftfaBS for responsible 

emerge in a more 
thai open* 


Utr-g ^P*^^^™^ M««,vcr. 0-r demonstrate an <wd 
to«H«w« »nd ■»■*«»_ K _ 0VHjd fa. Shop (HOE *i) m bfa obsetv.- 

*-«*K^i^Ej£ to" of DenerAc^ on 

pcnM mi land. He observed thac 

B ot«««-«-ihoc ^^ a ^Stio« rfXt *c W«t considers 
,^1 .rfrtr a embedded m the * «?« »" ^ y nol tonrinawi by A* id" of a 
„«, M d nine t, n« «n « a Ikn ^™^ £ ^ the Dene conceive of real." ■ 

promt. ComEuniaiioo and cwmcenon between past, ao». ina ™-«™^ J" 

^Llo* brt^. time and *e Am -du-ir dto««« of ^ «** " " 

Vox totoditto uk Hiw Ux WjrWwrm odluic uws ptaat 

Hert Slurp iuighifony draw ailcniwn w ihe «ay* i" w^^ Dew indiBenow 
knewtedse wavH Time. ¥*«. authority. «d spiritual proeiicti bmo an npcncfliul 
upestry of dctp, cosmological mcafiirig for a tommunity. 

Moreover. Dav paspcclira appear tawyj W parallel Albert Einstein's strategy in 
hu theory of graenl rdatmty. In that theory Einstein described sp^ e and ,unc ' * 

_i ri« »an observe, , ]n olion, and hypothesized flexible and dynamic rather than 
"I undiantini (tmctures, winch mi eonttarv' <o how , hey brer, urderstood m 
1 Sri U« c-t-m-lew. .ntcre.tingly. in F^^n's v,ew of a 'bfeck un,verse 
I 1 up aainsl the challenge D f tlx now-moment of time IfYkl^, Hei«Ue,l 
to HLih V,n.e and sp-c change, the now-moment Wist be mteriy Kfliuni w 
*ln« dc^itc our common-sense feeling of time*»<««U* nos.-moments ,,s Uke a 
Z M time A philrH"pher remembered a «am«f aarion he had with Einfton on 

1? Outlined that the experience of the now means something special for man 
-Sir* «M«ntMlf dilTrnm from the past and the future, but that this unpoium 

jSS^dcwc seemed to him a nutte of painful bu, ineviuble »V>« 
IfrwnCarnap (1963). cited in Greene (a».i:t4l)) 

'^ of the paradoiica. nature of the MmnltaneKy Of time, the Dene ^ 
either Kriously pained nor nrsigned to the constancy of the R*K nmv-momem In 
SZSm does not ^eem » dominant in thrir kno.1ed f syacm a* the 
£ ? SL it«lf a* a simultaneity of time. Dene «perKnces of htae* not 
S«6c observations; nor arc they a theory »■ gentrral-eUnv,,,. But they dc j«» 
iTdep A tmi&hts of Dene ind !g eno Ui knowledge as the>e people al^ ruggk to 
idcrSul an embodied. « orBan.c. mulualicy of knovdedge. land, and l.feway. 

Concluding Comments Regarding the 
Acquisition of Indigenous Knowledge 

Three «ndudin R observations .0 this co.rview ,re drawn from Mar lime Brunt 
SSfano SS a^-,1 rcgardmg the ac^uo" «' inda»»«» 'Ttt 1 

olt !S r±i aX*. M*?«l h-»to^ 1»» h*„ handed *« W Wi^* 
SlTm^ or less intact from p.eviou, generate Second. ^^^J 
dned th touch careful observat»n of the natural and bull »*^™* 
SS « *«P««i « nro ^h dreams, vb.on,. and mtmtaon* that are 
3SLS » SUi ^ 0^ briefly an^ft* ^£^S^ 
Saw « «o conclude with timely observations on sc^l eputemologKal character 
indigenous knowledge as well as the d«olonl«d response, to the attempt 

daily by elder. This rich concept of elder, is another example of »"»"£ 
H» tancous. community generated n>le that may or nuy -"£*«"£ 
^son. Rather, an elder" is .ha, persot, whom .n «f*^™^£S 
^hnbued ,vi«h .he knowledge. responMbili.y. and spiritual fot actt y 

Til i ' §*•■■»• 

f tar. In the con.tmpnrary Mtt jrsdipn™.* «"** 
, lun ^c mk queued ^^cJ^agc^rid-M^andcc^-. 
^ « ma,, often «n*-d; *%%*& M «n»l to the authentic ncqu, 

^p of tha, deeper tarn** *£** ^ ^ ^ of *, northern wb- 
tar .denmv and nww* » in *™f , £ s . , ^QfenVfeiMW nriiQVmv 

,*,) (WW* and A««*ew '^.^^^vUUTd wording to Aboriginal 

p^s lu^rBanding rf the J»«r£ J ^ ta, describe Ihc forces of an 
55 deri- mo* c* the Enp««c n~^ ((}w o( ^ ^ ^ „ 

«„.^ from c^^^cc-d fern refl^.^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ 

i«U»«ot» toB"^ JS^SJS«Y expenetK* of the depth of origin*. 
*-*■ ^ * *?Z SSSS SE been suggested, ntuals, » form. 

Sr^SST-^ *£ h * *■* «-* « 

« .tan. Coomry » VWo* *»pt. f>^™^ ^V,^ „ „« interconnected 

*«-^^^SffirSS W "wrd, each ate. fa. aO 

^ed snd an ^« "-1^^ f 3 ££n?L «*h« «■ *(«. « 
"*»»."«* T^ ;_^ r«o«™r P W in .be Mite spheres rf life 10 help p« 

M ^ dd« aib^y » =w- i««w* >■««■■ bT * u 8 e Tirltr; 

In, » i» •»»« li« «k* " J^nrai0T, » WK> * eEBi ffl ^" E 

ncmplif)<TrfJwierfknwle%. . 

TVrc s nodoubi llu. tndhion>1 cmTratrnienul knowledp. oi IbK. hu «P 
toral thc pulto inugirutioo mm than «y othsr ifpecl rf indipowa knowledge, 
in nurinc Ae public ^hcic- it also rounds us of t«^ "^ indigenous knouledp 
has ben conunuMtd. The .tec of plumuctutkal panaceas gathered from indi- 
grnous koo««p <oW lends to pMCDtMy aplmUtive *cliv.ucs such as 
gtoeik pit**. In thcK comempomy curactivc jpndus. biologic*! nuteridt itc 
gUhcrtd from native peoples and artempu made lo patent thc drttincnve genetic 
beriugc of indigeraivs groups, hirthcrmore, effons to protect particular expressions 
of indigenous knowledge usulg iwcnutioruJ intellectual property rights have proved 
jmlfrliii at bol. bctauK «hey enta nff tc indigenous tlden and ipokespeople in the 

h tMucnOK procedures of multiple nation-states. More significantly, they situate the 
Meal knrjwleclp of indigenous peoples hi u\ cpistemolofjcul COrtrKl that tf 
! ill, inconsistent with the knowledge bring protected That is.the languages, ideas. 
, Vi]u „ supposedly protected by the concept of intellectual property rights ate set 
JI&Li a context that is more similar to a colonial mindset that situates indigenous 
.les .is subservient dknts mthcr thin careful obscnCH. users, and co-creators of 
c',r environments. It is also evident that local knowledge can be used by indigenous 
aders to oppress their own people Cms thc argument by David Harvey U996I). But 
. biMorfal gravity of respomibility between peoples and lands OVB 
f rtbBedneSS and use. evidenl, for example, in oral BttWtiW* precludes d«rmssal 
rmdUtenous knowledge by labelling it as potentially abusive of the rights of .is 
practitioners. Moreover, indigenous knowledge is often an empirical source for 

rndisenous Jenowledp records orally obsers-ations of local ecosystems in 
mnwlo HTticiibr forms. Wemer Wilbert (iOCrt ^oo) pointedly distinguishes the 
atrial knowledge of Wmo peoples of ihe Orinoco Risrr delta in South Amcnca 
from of Western science. He writes: 

Th* world cl UK Waran is a manifestation of the supeniaturiil. experienced thrnugh life not 
^,. WB d tluouRh scientific ihoughu The product of fenptudiru. «^tftr^e3S 
^d topretawn. rt S nfalds human society in a mytbdog.«d todscape of P»»bal 
«iOii. Rath" 'h»n self-centered atomistic bidfattalisn. it promotes a moral hood of 
wc krv. nrstnhicd by priDdpfei of pluralistic eoexUtmce. Principles of restraint are encoded 
, the mild Ptdcr by holistic design and perpetuated through eneuUunrJw leanung both 
privaKand public. 

Perhaps Ihc central accompanying f«tu« of tmpiricil knowledge among ind, 
eenous p«pl« is that of rcsponsibflity. Rather then romanticizing trad.tiorwl envr- 
onmental knowledge, it b more instructive to learn that many indigenous my«« 
..ara of the overuse and misuse of natural goods. Thus. Guss (.9891* he 
intricate resuictions and prohibitions on the gathering of materials for basket 
making among the Y«k«aua uf VenrtueU. &**<« makir S rc^-ins one ot the signal 
accomplishments whereby Yc-kuana adulu achieve and maintain sooal sUtus. Tbcj 
Jso sell some baskets for cash income. Yet. their empirical attention to. and use of. 
these diverse fibers, roots, and plant* is no. driven by the goal of lirmtless ftctaere- 
ment. Rather, knowledge transmitted in mythologies about the culture hero Wanad, 
restrains usage, promotes mental discipline, and binds a eotnrnumty .0 a deeper 
rista of itself. Empirical knowledge of the bush by indigenous peoples also rarscs 
significant questions about different ways in which the wild is known and the ways in 
which that knowledge is tran-miiteil. 

Horn many indigenous perspectives, Wklness 1 and •w.ldemess. a* areas ,nM 
thchuman is absent, arc puaKng wnupls. For example. Rnbtrl latvtnpa (.^ 8^J 
tnoru of the Chipcwvan and Han, DenWAthapaskan peoples of ihe \orth Amefiuui 
sub-Artie that a number of relationships link humans to these open spaces. He 

— - „«, nw -*n. P iv or unoccupied". Tim 

. u, muth 01 - ''»"* Ltf,dii ^ ^^[y J) (Deb surroundirip. as «cu«. 

C^*-^" ^"^.. ._ ^ „f the human is not , 

^king concept. Rather. ^^T^,,., mnemonic |M b**d «* J* 

Same oftemd «*«««« "f**™| ^ America, rice agriculture b. 
^wiedgc concern the •*-»^ | £JS-. D«h («■• -■ *** 
Sou.fc.aa A*, and am. ^^^ VH , in ^ng .he ecsU^nducing 

ddkatc intern <* *""> «*" l^T*^ ^opto who w«k with this 
n the widespread - d -^ m V m °"lS r^cT S ^on, .he complex 
^ncc *« the pluns f^". vt =ru T^iCarpuz U*»J *«« 
^cesses reared . m»A* J ^™. id corses rice .grk^ 
Ijpro. value -rr^hed a . •* '^J^^ 8 ^ h lhe Philippines. She spcafa 

^^ransmined * Mfr - * r«— « T^Xan 
the confe*. of lifewiy and land Uvicr GaUm S.lva .200.: w) S""*.^*, 
pLge from the F/^ne C*te tha, «»>]»*» * *■*« '^'"T^ 
L £<*d toow.edge.Tha. U, .he profound teachmgs d "^^T^ 
wpjeittv open m^ght into .he embodied, spiritual present of the hol.stu order 
■and* the human body. «he «ul body, (he ecological body, and rhe emw- 
togKal body. TO. passage relate mai« to .he sustenance of these embod.menls. 

uonefl Imiize]. Our Sustenance, it for us. all-deserving. Who w» il who ailed 

flaSmdoaxb - 

walk. move, enjoy and reioKe. Because Our Sustenance is truly *!■«. * " conceals 


boner? For i. is Our Smtenaiue, ihji life, and our beiop. 

! I ttut ■ is h« >vho ruks, fownu and conquer*. ... 

rtnrT f« Ou. Su.lenancc. r«a««>«d the ma«e. does our soil sut«».. dort the «orld 

jBd* «« P"H»« C Ihe mM The mai "' Tma ' ,,yi "'- a ,be lnlc vJue df """ ari,,a,ot 

Thi, revraied knowledge amonp the McsoanTerican Nahua peoples b related 10 the 
,, rtinc ,l v different undcrstand.ngs of lhe neighbouring Mayan peoples regarding 
STcriKin, prodtinion. and d«pcr implicitions of maize agricuitufc- Both or these 

~Z Mesoamerican civdiErtiom in .heir knowledge system* reflect on Ufewa^ * I 
Lrfold emhodimeni of their sacred food. corn. Knowledge flows, then, as a vtulitr 
shired jaws bexlies in die cosmos. 


We*™ claims of universal knowledge articulated from Ihe aghtccn.h-cen.ury 
Miehtcnmenl period seated c*!onuli»t domiiuUkm' a* * divine right or d* 
"ble lide otWs over the benigh.ed r^oplcs of the Earth. As Nod ob^tved 
hem: »>. the logic of universal claims eventually came up the resistance ol 

indisenous peoP^ «d lh ' asscrtio11 af thdt OWn fomU ° f ^^^ "' ""^ 
ajkcja™ f „dom« K .helogieofa discourKtaugh. ,« waS v,l^*e 
£nuJd began to fed doub... A. first «pt ^d fleeting, diM doub s were aroused by the 
Z^o?.«m failure .0 five up 1. hfa rieafiMd model of hununtty. As the oppressed 
KT, n^ acd 1-Lre of dl own worth, thcic doubt, greH more insistent. Qrirify. 
£ZZ wd cea«'d to see the oppressor's defense of hu special interests as the -rt*k 
JhSowX « superior bdng. Ikbs r.«urd. « hUtorical lam that cpoused such narrow 
S?£ teiw - 5 U It oxmudly came .0 mind that these law, were pure ctea*o» of. 
poup wiihiag to iejilirnue it, privileges 

Tht current rc-genera.ion of indigenous knowledge by native peep 1 " *%***" 
tadnwnr U. their resistance to ongoin? forms of contemporary colour, 
Resitance in this sew does not point to a fossfli«d .nd^nous ***«&&" ' 
desperate coping mechanism. Rither. indigenous ways ot actrvery seek to 
nourish both the cultuial Ukwip and .he biodivaMty of the land 

Increasingly, efforts to decolors mdigenous knowledge hav^ led to programmes 
&n preserve traditional lifcways. indigenous promts for reston.^ ^n^* 
of knowing often >** to harmonize with selec.ed and subs.totcc changes 
from outside communiues. and accommoda.e paradrpw and ?»^™ f« 
Western *ckr,cc. Encouraging indigenous ywlh .0 enter uuo «*^^^* 
W Mc holding .0 community Lifcways arc- ongoing challenge* for name commun.l.e*. 


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irtliflic position will be considered. Subsequent wxiiont will orplorcsome of the 

on* and theological options; in association with naturalism. Baskafly. these wilt 

"trtttecl a* perU.roihJ 10 two kinds of naturalism; namely, theixic naturalism and 

ttUviauS nfliiiwu'* 7 "- ,,» 

This chapter has i« P^« >* * part enritkd Religion and Science Across Ihe World s 
r idjtioftf. But is Rdi&kms Naturalism > tradition"* Is it one of the world's traditions. 

towtude Buddhism and Christianity! Perhaps it is a tradition as old as science- v. i 
rrt to this towards ihc end. but first, we haw to become more familiar with 

' mnlisTd in its relation* with the sciences, and with religious forms of naturalism. 

What Might Naturalism Mean? 




S^S^t^t^U be proved h W*. * 

"£, ^lobTfce rdfejous agenda of quite 4 few i" religion and SOHW. 

religious optk»» within Ihc context of ■unnfitt ««* may turn ou« to be more 
hospitable to religious motive* lhan antagonists suggest. ... 

We ought to accept a naturalistic view, since it is the thai is most 
MoeaM of the epiucnk success of the natural science, and thus cogmlnely 
preferable II is also morally preferable, at il incites us to work with our knowledge. 
For those who accept ibeistic considerations, naturalism should be the preferred new 
of naliiy « God's creation, since il does not locate God's role in our ignorance or 
Uraiutioftt. bur in whit we know and what we are able to do. The costs of rejecting 
TMtwaliifli are high. The solution is In lis* with naturalism. 

To explicate what it means to live with naturalism. 1 will first clarify how 1 
understand naturalism. This initial exploration may show why naturalism might 
be ln» harmful than some take naturalism to be. Some reasons for and against a 

The prnrof chapter teu*e» »me paragraphs ind phrases horn Dree*. t«6. W. Ms* a" 00 - 


in the mkh context, 'nature 1 is not just about wilderness. It also refers to nature as 
domesticated by humans to technological artefacts, to humans and their creations 
ud ^ languages and political Institutions, It refers to material reality but aba to 
that which is done in and through material reality. Music, for instance, does not enst 
in a vacuum— h needs vibrations, material movements. At least as vibrations. nmSK 

part of nature. As we wiU see, naturalism' takes a further step, treating musac as a 
Jural phenomenon, not only in its expression as vibrations, but also in its origin m 

i man creativity and intcntionausy. One might also substitute for nature the who!* 
oi empinca. fealty', if that would not prematurely dccidccenain issuesol theology ot 

metaphysics. . , 

Such an encompassing concept of nature need not imply explanatory « «■* 
fea.1 rrducuonism. as if by being natural, an entity would be of less nu«L If, for 
imunce, humans are material beings, this does not downgrade humans It should 
rather lead to a high esteem for matter, since matter is capable not only of being and 
or rock, but also of being Rembrandt. Einstein. Gautama (Buddha), and feus. 

The Rejection of Dualism and the Success of Science 

In arguments for naturalism, there are at least two different motives at wort 
Naturalism is a response to the success of the sciences. The sciences provvde an 
increasingly integrated and unified understanding of reality, resulting in precise 
predictions which correspond to empirical results. Success may also be understood 
practically, since scientific understanding allows us to manipulate parts of real, y 
m enormous precision, Fiectrons are not merely hypothetical cntwtcs. but have 

become mstruma.L for further research (Hacking ic** , H ). Inspired by the success 

uo wu«— - _ — - 

*- ; -, wcWinR to foUow as closely n 

. .. j «J from cuW* the natuMl w v [1|( ^ m , pirjlltm for 

JES to "" *"- BeadCS : ^SS«* e precise consideration*, for those 

'— *- **" ^ „ M .^^ dWnet «. .**. realm,™ h 

*«rfid*»-»^^T^ «£«£«fc' • * world lively. It affirm* 

B-B ..-!,!,- .-lit.' SWBC»«fc*B 

, a ^Hl— — I. — »«— — 

x*. foOows ; . 

.jfaa,, m« b*»»d wlf ' e *™«al toZ kind of or ptirp«M *g*nr-. 
tni («) that all «k< ■" <" Turli «"** M ™' ^ 


Naturalism as Ontology, Epistemology, and History 

Srspec. .a 1%>. naturalism assume* that all objects around ,* ukhjtaj 
MmKo, consist of thr «uff described by chemists n the pcnoAc tabic of the 
elements- This aulT b further understood by physicists to consist of dementa y 
naroclcs and forces, and beyond to is turned to consist of quantum fid*, 
supentrings. or whatever. A« the Vbatev«- indites, our knowledge h» not J« 
,«Aed rock bottom. How. naturalism cannot be articulated from a fundamental 

K|l.|C;mUH KAIl'KAinH *ftl/lbll-n.N 

, —upwards. Nor does it imply ibatall phenomena can be descnlv-d in terms of 
and chemistry. A conceptual and explanatory non-reduetionism « tenable 

rams 89& '* fc "W- 5J,) - tmt more ' ' na "" aUM "" lko dcfcnd ll * idca ! hr " 

. are SL-nuiiiily new obj«w with new propcrliev em thmigh they have «t«f> 

rt of other object*- Higher- level propcnieitarenot just crmbmatnrul coiuequCTices 

"n Lt-kvd properties ( Humphreys !»?)• Scicnmts and philosopher* «r lefciwe 

■Ijnfv how we tan understand emergent entitle* and properties as real and 

^Lit, efficacious, even if produced by (and Yocsistinj nr in a material sense) 

nler OHO M »* f«««™ «« iti,: » wi " ** rfJ and c " u ""*' eflkariwJS pCT *""& 
Induced by present ones (see also Goodenough and Deacon. Ch. 50 bdow). 
With respect w «««>•. naiurafam underaunds living beinp, humans included, as 
current «age in .1 bundle of Darwinian evotolionary histories on our planet. 
JKkh Uself rs a transient phenomenon in a mtWmc that has been for 
«1 ftftec-n billion years. These insights do not commh one 10 * particubr new on 
;;'; ... :; v m „ ::,, 1; ,, faction aftbefim ^ond'; ■ ntq be thai 'ha sceood fa 
TL adequate «fetenee * all- It « wM> history as with i.nt.,1-^ the_ most 
ftwdamenral issues about the beginning of our universe and the nature of time, 
ace and substance are not settled for the naturalist. 

*5» uralisn, S C« X*id .,,. memi W as ene nf the fruits of the Ion* evoluttonan 
™" s, u ,^ .. „« ..- : ol flrfe, ,v,n when h Hudie on, own =nwjence 
SLtfsrn holds that this !v not « vicious circularity. Rather, science and other 
ntdlecwal enterprises can be seen as building upon human eapaones fo, doUhS 

^menon which i vcogmtively reliable, and ineteasingly so (Kudier ***«£* 
SHLl phenomena arc also the refijgimis .BduAs. W.e/s. and Mtdtoa^ 1 hey can 
k7 H udd Ibv cultural anthropologists, hutorUns, and the Qa Ik processes of 
mergence, development, change, continuauon, and extinction of vano usrdi^rts 
Z to^c understood within a natural femewr*. comparable Co some «lent to the 
emergence, change, and disappearance of languages dlrfd **"<*. 

When we come to speak of rrl, g ipr« naturalism, the ,»ue« not «*?****? 
M c can understand the history cf rdrgions natu,alisti«.y. The Me. **a one 
S nLr« - non- K ligiou S po^on is and hovv vsxl. i, cope, « J natu^ 
self-u.dLanding. ThU is espfcMly relevant when rel.gious traditions ar^ swM 
SL* pre-scientL pn lP osi.iona1 bet.efs. but also powerful mous.tors. embodv,n 6 
^SS^oJSSm. Betoe .-c discuss dseclogicaland rebgiousop-ons 
SZ to natural, we »i nrst c„n S ider some challenges ,0 naturaBm as *d. 

The Wildness of Experience 

I, reality not more complex and intractable than rutur^m takesit to be? Asthe 
nnvetist'lnhn tak, wrote in h.s reflective essav The l^fa^ ^SjS; 
ence. from waking second to W-*tg ^cortd, i* .. hopelessry be>"0 * U«- 
power .0 analyse, it Ls quintessentially -wild", in the sense my father drsUkcd - 

wvxQ* » s * rr : 

WiLtc* p - _ 

!Ln«i is J ecDob* f " IUTC . • 4..r all efflttfcn*. Ineduabihty should be 

£5S*5-i **"?"£ SSTl 3£ .hcory has mxde dear s*« 
Sir -1 «•«* ^=£1 wnrwrb*. sufficient knowledge 

J ibr details » p»rf* • ■' "h,Kit V* do not monitor ..II processes; VM 
.ftyfcaL bus the* b r* ««•* |UC fc w ken-tokcrt identity). 

U Out W ta« ^ nMfiC .^X^uTp^cubil^ Of thdrbcb.viour. Thus, let 

Pan-expericnlialist Naturalism? 

campta »™ e ™"!£"r. J^ d,-,^ »„» of their environment «d 

^,sTa^ml fundarneJltolo** witbou. thereby denying A. *-*■ 
c^ of phenomena >acb B sentience at higher levels. 

WhhinAe naturalist fin*. h«K«f, * ntinonty posTJO* reverse, the order, and 
<J2L human experts . typical of the fundament.! on.olc^. Accorxhngto 
p^hiloapbXhe tradition of Whined. aU «turi «rit« ru« freedom 
Lienor and Uectivirv. A ™« vocal advocau of *uch 8 naturalism is Etand 
R. Griffin I awt). who ■ the aulhcr of Chapter 27 below. Any naturalism that woks to 
Ihc usual older of disciplines he disraisse* as materialist and atheistic. 

This w not the place for an extensive argument regarding the ncher naturalism mat 
Griffin ttaoM Ha more relaxed namrausm might make life easier for rehgiou-s 
thought. However, it seems w mistrust the power of the process, as it denies the 
rrgence of wiucwearsdsubsKlivuy. If they arc emergen 1 properties, ihey would 

•J I I IC I.) I '. MAI I «.■-( L-.-M -■.■-. >■ »>-■ t ■■ ■ 


. IO be among the h«ie inpediarts at the most fraidillMfititl ontcloglcal l«d. 
" hernior* 'he approach is subslanlially at odds with current science, whert the 
r'Tplinarv order indicated abos-c does seem to express insights aboul the byetrd 
T lew at tcility <see also Peaeoeke i 9W i »r. I>ms .»& asr-9 s . Thus, not w.Uing 
ntttfn idffltific undcistinding upside down. I will not comider such a modified 
' r " in the remainder of this chapter. 

Normativity and Naturalism 

In rtistemology, the philosophy of Kience. and moral philosophy, there MUM be 

on P os»tion between naturalism and normativism. That naturalism might be 

uni i to articulate normative aspects of existence leems to lead to the «j«t«» of 

•an a Wturalirt distinguish cj.islcmology from psychology, truth from bdirf. and 
5^1 norms from evolved preferences! That is, if practices »ch as >***°* 
Seted moral judgement are human practices, ind * such My nature P he- 
Se» rooted fat cur existence as pnmatcs. why- should we uke the* as funda- 
rosntaDy different from pseudo-science or prejudice! 

ftJ*B tend to deny ttal there is an absolute deraarcatKin tcl-ten soen« and 
BOB-Kimimc activities. Kowes-er. at the same time they do prefer science o«r 
ZSSL. K* *»S hve by such a distitwtion. U this no, rf -«*«««* 
Lohercnt? The point » not that posttiorB » «h.«* ^^Z^l 
Lt have somewhat similar proWenw, but that 'Ktiunhim' feces a problem when it 
comes to justifying 11s own criteria. 

Naturalists will have to do without absolute norms and procedures- Pubbx ,u*- 

.ncauor, a,d individual reflection do strengthen the credibility of rules and norms^ 

Icrmeal imp.ovemen, of morality and sdentific methods and cntena makes .a real 

c tee Kilchcr 1985. i««) in a natuniiUHc approach, arguing for a m.rrna- 

„„£ I. is a P ro>«, in which naturalism can benefit (ton, other phuosopl.-l 
S^-h *s pragma («Hh hi sensitivity ,0 .he w, y in our norms .re 
SS m hurl prKlfe-) and Kantianism (with its reflection on nev* Mils 
accessible. ;dvw>4 eluiivc. ttanscendent regubtiv-e idealt). 


Are naturalisls US* prey to scienusm (Stcnn-k aoo,.! Tt« is «^>"^3 
«0 much from Ihc natural sciences! Of course, some ■*£!"*■£ 

no, ,0 be adequate. However, as X indicated above naturalists .faouM Mbm for 
multiple domains or Uvcrs of reality, with a varkiy of methods and aprm«hev To 
funh r ones h«llh, physknl excrcisea may be mor* useful than cactuses m phy.ics- 

M vmxtH**™*^ 

nrae nfll f cakuLition but of Iwtcmng 

aLmg *an about a giv* « c *" , Pclcr40rv M o 5 : 75*) It c« he ■ 
^5*1. *« "relbods ■"' ,1 CT,dCTC ' 1 ' n i"TJ mike - well focused Mffimcm. 

ic chars* of W^ riSSu «**"* it of iU theoretical *»» 
^ „ die W^ ^'^nd wh« ha, been measured and observed", 
, ^usvhere science J^gJ^fc,, push science « -ar « po«,Wc. 
to Irt the contest of «**£ * "JS , 00 fa riB -h-P **» » £** 
Wfcate me * * ~ ^ SS **, doc, justice « te -alulayered 

Four Arguments for Naturalism 

M ., ^ — -^r anises. 

« wo . r»uU,ng in corroborated tlKones h« ^^ whh .^^bk 

p ^,o„. , -JTJS^ - ^2 SSL L^ ^ - phUo- 

available guides to the understanding of reality. dd ^ 

M The natural science*, in coniuncoon wilh teuhnoiog,. ^I^T™ 

fa^rto and pS*»i»««po B (» if *uch a m W e argument would hel P 
SJT. on/Jmple, -he authors trca.ed .he theory that H, V «• the cause o, 
AIDS J i-1 « *»ry that fitted -he inter.., of the ph.nnaerul.cJ hndu-ry and 
ser^d ducrtemaBon .Stihl et 4. aoos no). In their rejection of convoluted 
Kience, .he authors were explicitly voicing support for ilic South African leader 
Wbeki. who by his denial of the vial background of AIDS deprived tens of thou 
sands, if not more Hun a million pcoptc. of effective treatment. There is ■ inqM 
moral nsk in playing down established science. This il related to "the elhtc* of beta! . 

.. rh the demand* artieula.erf by William K. Clifford in hi* original contnbut.on 

*2r-m Playing down established science, even if for morally lofty 

,«s may haw immoral consequences. Working with ihe best knowledge 

" 1 Tm. "- nha OmiAarHfo** ■<* bwddgs .-,, «dl be maty re**** 

u J Am thei« has good rewws lo be a naluralUt. maybe not in the ultimate *e«e 
Zi^-iiieCod'siraniCendence.bui in thesenMrofwehommgthe insight thni nature 

£<r?mpre*i* imegrity and coherence. If Odf world b GoA creation, any 

Estate we have of Ihi* world U knowledge of God's creation. Cod ,S OOl W be 

S w much ID «he lacuna in our current knowledge, in the ^ps but rather in 

ufrhave u n co«red. If our ^ and ^ are gift, ofGo* we mould not look 

fcTcS when «« tA bu« n,.her apprecatc God for a B .ha, h-u beam ^«^ 

NatuT religiously ,|»ken of* creation, b no. opposed to C-od. bot ra.her UkI , 

B ;ft Well come back to theism and naturalism belirw. 


a^Z d^.ineluding.ho.weconsidersupe^t^ 

SSZteSS mtegr^d w,m d. result, of the bo. re.carch »nd ■■gg 
tit adherence. Rciarch regarding one's own «£*» *» q^ a *f^ " 
SS. OirMUnitv in .he nineteenth c«v.ury. when his.onc,l-cr rt ,ca) study of the 

^oXt^itiona. Christians far ■"-**^ J ?£S*£22 
T^l 4me «ek«fcW bydaring their c>« to such studies, but the tnteUectua pnee 

,1 tfeiificalitt of .he biblical narratives, treating these *s hum-Yn responses, shaped Df 
SS Geologies. The human dmienMon Otus acquired by the sources ot 

etpcrienca and thereby come to share .heir convktions. or not. 

Theistic or Religious Naturalis 


understandmg of n a «uralism. but al,o on on Jj^*^^ ,, Icligiou , ? Or 
naturalism, what might I* left, and would that be '»•**>*" ; . 

b this ouesnon phased ,oo ^^^^^^^ <"*** 
naturalism is chipping away »«*f^~^3 ^JuJlv co„k n some 
light? Well begin a. the theistic end of the ana ^rauuauy 

examples of more purely naturalistic positions. 

creates and susui 


Naturalistic Theism «■***•*■ with the 

„ „ , „mmd WJ "• «*f e *T^ cnc *ofGodVmodeofheingand 

,ctiv*y .eg- Kaufman £J2S^ » any -tori ««** God 
in lhe notion of own* « ' lA \„ ri Lrv cause; all uunl causes arc real. |U* as 

tab red natural causes are ««j«j ^ Mid(fle Avt ^_ tor inMa „ ce , ^ 
^dary causality was developed ' n '* ^ al lcsi , to Augustine (Thorn* 

1^*-*^ SS,^^ Henderson WW Burrell *&. God 
,,flm . S SS. t*«S Hebblethv.a,< a ev^^-and creates them not as an 

5. esrrything-P^ P**". £SSS2 - d "^ tCla,,0nS - ThC 
MlM. b- of m 2£ft23EK one hand, and creatures and 

aamtly .ctmty, on ** "^JV ^ eoacdwd in tto view, is not temporal. 

Gods eternity tsno. «™W* tnwwi** God nuy be consistent w,th a 
wlW as *^— 2SSS1" ^Id as understood by the mm* 

MEO «* as ^^^^^ £ SSl&«« rdate to each 

^S-I of the world * s~h. TO., in my op.mor,. Is consistent with 
iSCS* offers Sanations, but every ^"f ^Te^ln he 
« K „d to. Thus, science espial -thin a fan****, hut docs not explain the 
framework as stick limit questions pemrt (Dree* i «>fc >7-.8. 1«H)). 

TV and natural^ lo limit questions nayhtqu.ied.ttem-* 
to far naturalists dnven by a dislike of dualism. If naturalism * defined as 
including *e sumption that nature is necessary in the sense of rcqumng no 
sufficient reason bevond itself to account either for its origin ot ontologtcal ground 
(Hardwickxwfr s-6), a natural*! cannot accept the suggestion that limn queslions 
might allow for a transcendent ground of reality. In my opuuon. however, the 
rn.un.lis. should not be too ideological with respect to limit questions- ( Fnus, 
there may be tension over this question among naturalists.) 

A science-inspired naturalism need not imply' the dismissal of such limit questions 

regarding the enstence, structure, and imeffig>buity of the world. I find irmuMAfOC 

MM genuweand attractive, possibility— that is, a My science-inspired naturalism 

Kith respen to the world wc live in and experience, combined with openness lo the 

possibility thai this remarkable reality is continuously created by a transcendent God. 

Saiutdiftk rtnmto one major problem, as I see it. It ishard to give rtasiins,onceone 
accepts a naturalist understanding of created reality, why one would hold such a 

.hedopcal position; 'since there are no ml -gaps" to fill, we may be left without an 

gmcol for Cod's existence of the kind that would convince a «knce-minded gener- 

ft,- (McMullin i^RA: 7»). Limit questions may exist, but they do not poinlloaspeciiK 

!Ler. Apmt* naaadbm might he epistcmically mote appropriate. Theism and 

raiism with respeci to the world may be reconcilable, but naruralisfic iJwisfl with a 

!n«tn of .% wanscenden. tksd would be a species of theism raths'r than of naturalism. 

Theistic Naturalism: God as Ground 

I « dualist** 'h° u Bb s!iU wiih,n ** * cis " c tradiuon broadl >' ""K^ed, is the 
nCilion of those who speak erf God as Ground of Iking (see Wddman, Chapter jf, 
Ldow) A major figure in the articulation of suth a theological position has been Paul 
rllich In the religion and science dialogue. Arthur Peacocke Ii9-M> tm^' »e the 
La rnominent advocate. TOs view has come to be formulated often in panenthe.s- 
rJms-vixlcrstandmg the world to be in God. even though God surpasses the 
world (Clayton and Peacocke 2003). 1 found a most inspiring po«* expression 
Sns aphorisms in Th< Ad*» of |ohn Fowles IW >* 'The white paper « ha. 
CuL a drawing; the space that contains a building: the silence that contaxns a 
Lair the passage of time that presents a sensation or object continuing forever; al 
ScTrc-Godr A creative development of such a position has been the suggestion 
nf^e theologian and scholar of the New Testament Gerd Theissen (. 9 S 5 ) that we 
n „Land religious hi*,* as adapurion .0 ultimate reality, ^atever the ^ 
formulation, this position has more deeply ingrained natural^ presuppos.uons by 
«Sng .0 avoid the duahsm of a transcendent God and a natural world, even though 
Stains a concept of God as surpassing .he world-and thus 1 would prefer to 
consider this not as naturalistic theism, but as ttastic rMtwausm. 

Religious Naturalism 

There are some positions that may be forther removal from theism, as they doi not 

asrf.os P eakofourexisten«a..dO»ew«o the^cred ^nrun 



eS. esoonl that are analogous enough to the paradigm eases of religion that thry can 

,hus be justified ifthe attitudes and responses are f^f^™^^^ 

KlZ S-t Christun synVhtVusm of God in the ^^^^ 

concemsandTurresTonstbiUty ^S^SS^SSSS!^ 
figure of speech to speak of an overwhelmingly significant characensttc ot processes m 


wiilem ». n*" 51 

i ia ------ ^^_ 

- ,„• fi M i *ooj>. He connects such 

£«*«!* "■*"*"£SEjS version of «**•*» do. <g«t 

^rstoodin.hcChnst,ar.t« A^,? «b*» « •«— »/ —-*- 

^ , ^"fy^'^J;' whiie *«*»* «° **■■"? ,l 7 o1 ^ 

Charley Hintwidc grves ap on ™T2l rfwUotoB y if ihb content is valuation^ 

5?Wj — -SSSStS « possible £. Rudolf 

nte than OOtote^ ** ■ ^S-.WBlin.etpreutionbwed.W toHcwr 

Nd« Ntart "'^fr^TX ^caning of myth ^ no, present an 
approvingly K°'™» r ' ?°. ,^™« «.' understanding of ourselves in our 

tf (4 „ 0M dinH.ri W Kk ^■^ n ™f , on[oKica | references). Gcrfor C«« 
riphIs . dut ies, value, « ^\££^ « - frZ Of I* ** * «P«-d * 

, »„ «rve ><22 ,™ *, XTh* book *tt #Q« WWU ««*** 

tjieiaie wang-w >.HB*n*- <*» •»»" ^ M|| rfl «. This «s not 

construe, classical Christian «™*JT • rt*£ S«bJ«^ He docs 

.ot^^ho ^' ;^-«-« to .pcak.-ithout peaking any 

evoluuorury cp.c ^"T* f ^ ' f ^^ wilh a broa d C r engagement 

Sr-rr ft«*» or are focused on worldwide challenges such **<?*>»- 


L conceptions of religious naturalism to make fundamental *£ » some : ,de a 

deiry. deiZor the di™e. however internal, functional, nonomologacl, » puah 

Religious Naturalism: A Tradition as 

Old as Science? 

Is religious naturalism a tradition, or even one of the world's traditions? That is the 
context in which this contribution has been invited. There is no explicit institution- 
alization, ai in some religions. There is no clear set of rituals that mark religious 

ituralisis- However, religious naturalism wmi a subculture with an identity of us 
Michael Cavanaugh (aooo) describe* some contemporary contributions, but 
°W- subculture has a history that, often unconsciously and occasionally consciously, 
raicht be a formative part of its identity. In 1998 Z>s«ro devoted a series of contrihu 
L lo the legacy of Ralph Buihoe. Beyond the history of this specific journal, one 
nav refer 10 philosophers, scientists, and theologians such as Henry Nelson Wieman. 
reorae Santayana, John Dewey. Charles Sandm Peirce. Mordecai Kaplan, and lack 
I Cohen, and to some extent even Alfred N- Whitehead and William lames, as 

^TS'stout argues, in response to exclusionary ways of defining religion and 
democracy that in the United States we have ■Emersonian piety' alongside an 
Ionian' one, Emersonian piety" refers to Waldo Emerson, but is used here as 
libel for a religious attitude ihat is much more prevalent. Piny is understood not as 
deference ,0 higher powers. .0 theological truth as a given, or as reverence «« 
authority but is rather characterized as self-reliance, taking responsibility for one s 
thinkimt- This is not self-reliance as if our achievements are ours in tfdMWD f™m a 
tradition shaped by earlier generations. Rather, it is gratitude .0 ear ier generauom 
and the whole of nature, the sources of our existence, but gratitude that is honoured 
„« by receptivity alone, but by moving on. by further explorations. A S.muar 
nrtitude could be articulated by referring to various thinkers of the European 
"Enlightenment (Stout 2004: 20-3.). There is in m;mv respects a huge overlap between 
rclietous naturalism and American pragmatism. 

One mav go back further in time, beyond the last century and a half, and klaim to 
be in heir of Spinoza, of his liberal Christian and Unitarian friends and the subse 
, u ;;, of various stripes. ,nd of some of the ^ jJjT^ 
fdavJ 1 2000), as well as of Dissenter* and British -sc.ent.sts who became Unitarians 
lucph Priestley) or pantheists (Humphry Davr. see Kmght jooo). Of course, every 
figure is to be seen in the context of his time. Claiming them * *t«*«J* 
S^uiiion out of conn*, but -hat h precisely the imelleenaaUy amb»vale 
prLcc that strengthens idc-ntity. These exempkry figures are <*^-£*£ 
p^e.ved as somewhat heretical by the traditional rehgious community ot their « 
while sunding in close contact with, if not being part of. the sc.ent.fic community- 
predselv the mix that may fit contemporary religious naturalists. 

There are Christian. Jewish, and humanist dialects of religious naturalism, as mU 
as biological, psychological, and physical ones, reflecting "Pb™*^ «^T 
heritage as wIL needs and simian. Some dialects are d.aleas of «^£S£ 
as well ius, as a local dialect near the border of my country may be constdered by 
met a d att of Dutch, where, other,, treat it as a dialect of German, Tho. 
~uch as those of Arthur Peacocke lW «) and Davul ^^^^ 
read as liberal Christian essays as well as naturalistic ones. There 1 >^™»£_ 
styles, from the sober and minimalist (Stone. HMwrt to the e^ "^ **J 
ant iC-ornngton t W ). from the analytical to the evocative .C^odenou gh ^ 
Migious naturahsm is an umbrella which covers a vanc.y of 4 to of-tach 
some are res, S .onary articulations of existing tradit.ons whereas others may be 

. t j .i^n« radussvelv to the sciences. There 
it feinli> - t««nbfaflcc. *rtta « "1^ M0rt e, The evolution^* «rv« 

„ , ma^cr ***** ^'"^ZZ^ *«««««• dte Ursula Good- 

feelings donp.dr philosophy emysy* ; relc „ ing f j ^lion 

nird M.llr.u.m.n [ft**** »«._ -> """J 1 for .landing «hc darker 

ta te rom.nnc side a, „* And • °£*j£££ paid . . . My »-ft life fc the 
^ of one'. «» «**««: ***£ U P ^ wg; ^ neHt 5, 

rs?ssS2 ess* r a iions ** s,onc w 

A Tradition as Old as Science? 

r , .- , .„ , ir. l ]iiivnn as old as science, definition in 
u «*• ,-BVKiniM rtUmous naturalism as a traomon *» *m* «- 

rit torn, both in cosmology and in biology, compared Mfc the best 
^2ZUt H Spinel da. It nrfght perhaps be cruraetenzed . as 

S» focused on person, or ancient book,; its concept of p^ps not 
sit ^ dt 5! Kot just beatific knovdedge, but d**"* r^rcb 
Lrding other culture* and die source* rf our own (e.g. brbhcal aiticism) is 
Xcoated. Such a tradition wcmld be, by nature, not commurutanan but indmda- 
aLik-*»d thus ms continuity would always be under pressure, since indrviduahsms 
reproduce with difficulty, if one does not need the church or the community to be 
saved, children mav get thai message and do without. 

Another feature is a positive appreciation of *& ww/A "Ot necessarily naive, 
sometimes even renouncing materialism qua lifestyle* but in contrast with divesting 
hope in a different world to come. 

A third, related feature is an activist attitude, as redemption is not expected to 
happen to us; improvement is to be brought about by human activity. Naturalists 
appreciate reality; but indude in this human activity. The historian |ohn Brooke 
I Brooke and Cantor 1996; Brooke ioojI has observed that the discourse of improving 
nature has a long history, eg. in alchemy, and continues in chemistry (Priestley 
again* and other transformative disciplines, independently of, or even at odds with, 
natural theology, which served more to support traditional theology with arguments 
from design — thai is, from the world as observed. 

Furthermore, even though some religious naturalists build upon a particular 
religious tradition, there seems to be a wwmo&l intention, in that the religious 
naturalist expects his approach to be open in principle to persons from all walks of 

life ot all cultures, and of all faith". With this universalism. ihc religious naturalists 
art maraliits. who are not just interested in understanding nature, but who seek to 
articulate humanist values in relation to their understanding of reality. 

I am not sure whether it is helpful to understand religious naturalism as a tradition 
is old as science, and in many ways intertwined with it in its development, or as a 
response to science. Thus, in addition to reflection on the sciences and the philo- 
sopbica.cUrifkaTion of various forms of religious naturalism, there is also work to be 
done by historians of religion and of culture by studying such more diffuse forms of 
relifcion, whether related to traditions or as 'something-ism', agnosticism and reli- 
gious humanism. These could be studied historically and systematically, for motives 
and arguments, as well as for dynamics. 

Am I a religious naturalist? Others have used the lahd of me. I am not sure that I 
like the label, as it seems 10 constrain, whereas I want to explore. I also have some 
sympathy for the naturalistic theism described above. But certainly, precisely in this 
attitude of exploring, I fit the tradition referred to above. Or at least, 1 hope I do. Even 
if I am not sure whether I am a religious naturalist, I am most interested in 
understanding what religious naturalism might mean l may become, and will offer. 

References and Suggested Reading 

Brooke John Hedl£Y Uooj). "Improvable Nature?', in WflSem ft. Drees (ed. J. b tfaturt Ever 

B& Rehgien. Science V Vfefue, London: Rouiledge. 149-69. 
in d Castor. Geoefket d^y*)- Reconstructing Natures Tiie Engagfm>< ' ^cienxeand 

Religion. Edinburgk T & T Clark. 
Buhrfli, David BV <i»j). Freedom and Crenritn i" Three Traditions. Notre Dame, Ind-: 

University of Notre Dame Press. 
CavanaucH. Michael (zeoo). What is Religious N*luraiism? A Prdiminary Report of an 

Ongoing Convention', Zygfln, 35-12 (June): 241-52. 
Clayton. Philip I2000). The ftwB&» of Gotl in Mcdem Thought. Grand Rjpids, Mick-: 

Eerdmans. . 
and Peacocki. Arthur (20031 led*.), /rr Whom WelmwidS^S&mi H^-e Our B^r^- 

ftinenthristtc Refleaienn on God's Prtunce in a Scientific World. Grand Rapid*, Mich.: 


Macmillaa. ft9-*± . ~ -, 

CoaaivcTON, Robfrt S. ti99?>- Sutures tehff&L lanham. Md_: Rowman & Littlenekl. 
CROSir. Donald {aooal. A RcHgwn of Suture. Albany. N.V; sLNj' Prcxv 

(1001X 'Katurucn as a Form of Rehgiou* Naturaiisni", Z)-gon. pit (Mardlh i>7^«- 

DRjits. WUJXM B. (1996J. Rctigioiu Science, and Natumhtm. CtmhridgC Cambndge Umver- 

rity Press. 

(i9f?7). 'Kattinikms and Rcli&iwn'. Zrscnu 32: &*-**> 

(i 99 »). 'Should Religious Naturalist* Promote a Naturalistic Religion!. Zygpn. J3/4 

(DeCertlberh 617-53. 

(loool. TTihA Naturatism; Commerus on Zygon iooq. Zy$on* &4 (tkcenibeiJ: *49-**- 

{M02). Cmtiom Fiam NMfktflg MBfffJ*»* London: Routledgc- 

"&£XS^ i : as u «• * - ~ 

Ombridgc dmbfMF U*w«V ™*^ ^, (Wan: h):Mi-^. 

5 , fc 1* <**« i— *- - — * •** ewwdphte 

Tanpldon Fouodauofi Press. *_«„-> Pj-.Mwp^ ef$&*ce. 64 (Much); 1-17. 

hSS fa. ft* * SjBSS^XS-i h-™- *•«*, h 

uiy press- , cumKnl "God*'. Zfflon. 38/1 (Match): «-ioo_ 

by Uniwntty of Notre Dime Pkh, 49-79- n. j. J»n> ib 

PA.UN Da>hp A- (mac). -WM G»>>< U Bans Pbytd? The N«d for Clanty .boot ft* 

vZZZL, A. R. (.993)- Ttalw/Br * Satntific Age Jkhg <ui, Dhmt 
(»»). •sdaKe and ibe ftrture ofThrokgyr Uwa. 2wm> 3S/i IMirdfl. 

~-^m). Paths from Stimw Ownb Cad.- T*r firf iff 41 0»r fepMi* Oxford: Q«>cv»fld 

Publications . , _. 

Pm«s, Kau. E. (200:). Dfinans with the SacreJ: Evolution. Ewbgy, *nd God. Hornsburg, W.: 

Trinity Prttt International. 
Pmuow, Gr£O0*¥ R. (2003)- Demarcation and the Sriertiflk Fallacy', Zyffm. #t*: 7M-*i~ 
Rvt. Lotal R. dm)' htryboifs Suny. *&»* ** f(5 ** E P" ^ Ewhitim. Albany. 

NY- SONY Prttt. 
Siuam. W. 0*63)- Sdente, Perupiian, end Reality. London; Rcmtiedgc & Kcgm PauL 

» WiLU/lM A.. CaMI-BHLJU RoiHJtT A„ PETHf, YVONNE, and DftlVEl. CJAlt (2002). 

Webi cf H< '-'''' " iVJl? ' Pf^pwnw* «l Sr^mcf unrf Rtftgiwi. New Bmn^witW^ N.|,: Kuigcts 

UoivenHy P«aa- 
SnrotAiOC, MiKAiit- (aooi). frirnttim: &icjj« r £rlii«» drKJ Rrfj^^. i^erihot: Ash^air. 
Stow;p« Wtluam B- (i*«) nwcriKiriig Gods Action in the World in Ught of Scientific 

Knowledge q( fteaKty'. in Robert I Russell a nl (ed-0. C/uw jjiw* C?mj»fcxiJy: Setmn^fc 

pfn'Vilivei en Drww ^rticm r Vaskw City State Vatican Observatory; Bcrkdcy: Cenicr for 

-j^eol^gy an4 the Nalural Sciences X59-oi. 
Stone, Ib" * 46 *• ^Wi)- TlieMwwtwtor Wswrr o/Tnt/uctm^rnce: A Kaiuralist Philosophy iff 

Rdigicn. Aibany. N-Y.: SUNY Pie«. 

(200311). '1* Mature Enough? Yes", Zften* 38M tDeeembcr): 785-S00. 

(aoojW. " Varieties of Religious Naiui4li»m~, Zygon, j8/i {NUrch): &?-» 

Stout. JiP^^BT (2004). Dwrncnwy ond rrai^fion. Piioeetom Princeton Univenity Press. 
Stkawsov. P. F. (1985). Skcplkitm ami Naturalism: Seme Vanetiet. New York; Columbia 

University Press- 
Taylor CHARLES (1989). Saurc& of the Stlfi The Making of Modern Mtnrirf. Camltnd^e. 

Mass.: Harvard University Press. 
TriEtssiiN. GEfct» (19S5.J. Biblkal Faith: An Evolutionary ApprotKlt Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 

(Translation of Bibtiuher Glaubc in cwtutondrer Sieht (Munieh: Kaiser. J98+).) 
Thomas. Owen C. (1983) led). God* JuiWhy in the World: Vie Contemporary Problrtit. 

Chico, Califc: Scholars PfCSs- 
WiLES, VtAumcc (.1986)- Cr«tt Aciiott hi tru WarUL London; SCM Prcsi. 





a^^ai™ It would be contaminated rather than enriched 
Science rs the only t»th to w ^^,*T^j |V attitude of 4 scientifically alert 

atheist (a -socntrfic atheist ). I shall ^^^rfxicKc is restricted lo some kind of 
deals with the gnat que*K»s of being. ««?«' ^ will hold the view 


duc*ss the nature of this belief and distinguish it from religious belret. 

The Contrast of Technique 

There ate two central features of science thai distinguish it from religion. One is lis 
mode of action: its reliance On publicly accessible espenmcnutk-n, in contrast to 
religion's private introspection. The other is its attitude: that the ultimate fabric ol 

«..lilv is determinable and in a certain sense comprehensible, in contrast to the 

iL'ite uldetcrminabiliiy and incomprehensibility of the explanations offered by 

eion Whereas science is meticulous in its objectivity, and false observation is soon 

' v rt «ed bv Parading da.a on public platforms, religion grasps at wisps of obscrva- 

and if Ihcy strike a sentimental chord, readily and enthusiastically absorbs them 

"nw 'the fabric of belief. In short, whereas science relic* on experiment reli^on relies 

^ CTrople that might at first seem perverse LI ike purported discovery towards the 
„d of <he twentieth century of "cold fusion, the achievement of the fusion of atomic 
nuclei in a simple po. where huge international effort using tons of equipment had 
^nTillv failed. The reports were, if true, wonderful, and represented what mankind 
: bnging L-inexhaurtible clean energy, .mmedia.ely. the ^scientific 
Imunitv soURht to replicate the experiments, but faikd, in due course discovering 

Xhadovcrcomethelongingfor the achievement of a fantastK goal. How different 
to" is from the report of* Virgin Mary on a church steeple (or. increasingly, « 
t Z, piecesof tcl.). The reli & ious .warm to see it, and driven by what . ««** 

% I Z «S « -nlc ft* various ecosystems of belief. The whole of the science 
SeUur b based on scepticism of the out-of-the-way; m contrast, the whole of the 
rdiiMiis endeavour is based on the rapturous embracing of the bizarre. 

SdiSnction between science and religion can be exposed in a variety of after 
JTtS are hewer* of simplicity out of complexity, ."hey perceive and 
X-Mbe aCdv complex land often stunningly beaut.W attributes o the 
3 around them, but dig deep into its foundations to *^* «**™ 
wteh that complexity has sprung They are awed. hu« not ^^f^^, 
Tedge .he intrici harshness, and beauty of the world, and especiaHy the mtneacy o 
ftfJSvity of the human brain, but then doggedly pursue the source, of that 

"v£SL downwards in the search for the underlying sjo,** » «£ T^ 
J^L .0 be done with cautious tmaginauon, imagination to identify fcpft 
and caution to refa U> ob.erva.ion. The .ourncy back up ftorn the 
Covered simplicity up to the world of appearance is fraught with difficult), for 
t^JSZTLi concatenated into a sing.< .bread .hat leads *™ J"^ 

caThave essentially unpredictable consequences elsewhere. In short, fence tealiy 

,.. MTMATKtK* 

~iLrtN amiviy? Simplicity is \hc 

,:it of a« ***> *" *KE S5 of an*.*** *; *«2 

rt nno«te the gWwwWi^ program™, reduced can remit in 

Swlc* and ^crimes * te ™"V. f wdurtionlrt ajdaiBtiwi and 
aim* in t Single B^P '° ?T nnri ent« at reductionist. 

U. ui^ence on the d*W STrfJ?^ V « ™^ and m ™ 
tatfc endeavour raises the ^^^^..^^mplKiu.ouBhtbj-Sclcnccm^b, 

^^stapli^*™^ 1 ^ ' ^h^thedesireistocometoknow. 

God b*c ukta^mf^ "TJgJ J a 1^ rf intellectual defeat, the 
«** understanding. >n .»H™£ ^opumisric Ml force rf****. 

0W*-.he«l««n^»2£T ^^ an cntity . identic , 
behaviour. Thus, much of sc.ence ron **V" ln terms of a Uw (in science. 

pma n ci hchav-u, and ^-£"^1S n.otiou). However. 
^law l»«--EK?tS!ir* * beZ^J Z the k. fa a natural 

law u-rep^cd by £nm> alone. a££oiin|5 for a 


SorU*. of all p^ble paths' One, we realue du. the imnnac character of light *. 

pa*,, «l the end-point however. .11 but a few path* have *£*» *a. «*> 
Sh each other destrucvely. That U. whe^hey-anivea.lhetcrrm™! pom. »hc P « 
. if one wave is likdy to couidde with the .rough of another, so .hey average to M« 
that point The few paths that do not interfere in this way all lie close to a straight line 
for waves travelling along such paths all arrive with their peaks and troughs almost in 
top (ThiJ result can be expressed precisely mathematically by drawing on t m 
properties of wam.l Thus, because all non straight line paths interfere destructively. 

. r ,-~i each other, but straight Hne paths do not. and survive, an observer is led In. 

Z Z *«* i| t? n ' Bmds in j sl ™ Bh ' line - " nw '"v* 1 "* p° int b thji ' law ^ 

to en«n> bclwvLOur turns out to be the natural outcome of complete inarchy. 

Tr-.. jn example where casual observation would seem to require both an entity and 

law lo Rovern its behaviour, and perhaps even a lawgiver, but science demonstrates 

that only the entity is necessary, for Ihe law emerges withoul further miposition- In 

,hU case, anarchy is the governor of behaviour- 

This cvmplc reduces the complexity of the world and diminishes the need for a 
J.L and workday God One religious view is that God needed 10 impose law, of 
Saviour on the universe at least at us creation. That laws in fact enrage from, and 
^mUtior. of. an underlying anarchy rather does away «* that rol, 

SS : Once'again. this busybody notion of Godjs show, by ^^ 

reflection to be u+olly unnecessary. *** P«*^ b r an Mhfln to a fanlasy °' 
busybody mind^ aroaous to find a cosmic role for their invention. 

The Scope of Science 

Sconce U limitless m its scope. Through the discovery of this rather straightforward 
Snoue (the scientific method U by no means dlfcuta-.. * ^^ 
pSion of comnK.„ sense, going out into the workl to nuke «-"*£ *-J 
XiL of il makin K sure that one's results can be replicated by another and 
^bShl howty discoveries fit >™ *« «** °«* h « ^ovencs and bemg 
S2f m^Ltppears » hav, stumbled upon a rather obvious way £■*■£ 

-S!w have worded as peculiarlv their own. Howcw. m the exercise of it* power 
q u«uons fron, the merely invented. Among the Uter, of course. Ik a number closely 

questions or meaningless inventions <m some cases, of course, both), 

^8 P4 TEB«Tt'-- 

,M how to "n wt ct,«rct God -free science 

«^ - nssSSS!3» ■* ,js,mply ■ **"*" ,h 

SSI'S S S- ■«! • f 21 whk h the J*- hm *»*».. 

.niwer, at « fast w r"'" df ""^ , hMOie .here certainly does seem to be 

wrnetlunB he re «hc ""8" 1 ™ !.„,,. 

A «cwd P*" quouon fondl> ««"* ' ^ qu «„ orl , S chart Chew * no 
OT why « - here « i£££2£ai coLt- Th, question ha, been 

^ by MHk ^£Z%£ to I«« With the possimti ty *« J "» 

no purpose whatsoever. Apun«d« , Qf <osmic cn0frni ,y. 

^,, fa some of <* » W* 23U ftom *«.««* empty amusement* 
1, ubm to regard questions <ha< ««**»£ howewr fas „„ 

Unfa**** the *j~ V* "£Z£ZU £fe can go abou. to business 
oeed or purpose, hasdetected no «gn oh • " ^ cosmk purpose from private 

biok* and psychology. «eto » ^J™^ ... are frivok > U siy suptffic&l wo that 

r 5 co *?££%£ $£> *£~ j > ; * ,hai the *r on 

the fici that science dismisses loeep que fc slightest evidence 

..undcin wouUbea »* '^^t noMh me J whiff of such 
fe, the unrvenc did in tot have *W£j%! "^ ffligh , lhink ma , > u <h • 
„«««. Moreover, ft « easy to u ^" d ^ J mo " s , Mmples and va„ 

£ „ fc w, mqLant fa a scientifically aler, atheist not » * "^Jj^* 
those who impose . pntconecpwn on me universe and then cry Superficial, wner, 
«cn« declines to ».-4K< iii time on «heit preconceiJUon. 

Anther great que.uon regarded by many religior* « cn.ral and thc.r pn^.e 
^erve of »nfanu.K,n b the nature of One afterlife. Saence that there a an 
anerhfe. Ftat and faem ,t. there U no evidence for such a state of existence Tt^re 
is. of course, a great deal of desperate longing thai there should be an afterlife, bu 
bring « one thing, and reality another. Our current understanding of the physicaJ 
operation of ihe brain and iti ability to generate the imricale and currently moder- 
ately myweriou* property known as -consciousness-, and in particular the sense ol 
idl. rulo out without qucsUon the fantasy that some kind of function < that is, a soul I 
can perast in the absence of the physical substrate of rive brain. The cnt.rc adornment 
of the debate about the afterlife and the associated speculative and evidence-free 

fences such as reincarnation, traasmigration. purgatory, heaven and hdl. resur 

tcctions (as from rccowry from comas), and ghosts falls aside otvee it is 
^cwed thai there is no such thing. 
Zc absurdity of presuming thai some sense of self (or whatever is the favoured 

ihadricd H* v ™' o( ,nc l K '" strnce corresporKling to an afterlife! ti not only 
UicA by the view that the physical brain pumps ideas like the bean pump* 

Xd hut r 'reinforced by the psychological basis of this belief. All that a scientific 
.^lvs'ts of the ptoposmnn expc»es a the psychology of control and the psychology of 
eT 'i relevant psychology of contro! is the weapon that belief in an afteritfe puts 
K the hands of those whose aim b l» intrude into the private Uses of others with 
Til that are feared awl cannot be verified. The relevant psychology of fear 
™Lis the mabihty of udrnduab to come to terms with the prospect of thetr 
own It should perhaps be added that "f^^T^SS^Z 

LnddottR for not only does it retna enroyment of the pre afterhfe (that ts. hie 
S but it proves to be a potent source of inspiration and rcv^rd for .hose who 
«<*, to kill in tebipon's name ot merely satisfy their Mood-lust 
"^doL .haf^ience can come to studying the afterlife is i.s •«-*»«* 
^Lh cpe-nccs. a kind of in.erhfc. where those on the brink «*tf*-£*»* 
^otl a varieTy of experiences thai afterlife er.thus.asts leap on to support heir 
XIL totally unSpotled belief In all cases that have be.n -^f'^.^ 
faSTthe phenomena reported (tunnels cr,din S in bright lights, and the like) have 
Turned 11 be ^U.estXishcd physiofogkal consequences of reacted supplies of 
blood .o the brain, not glimpses of ihcMissfol life to come. »,,.„„, 

TnoAer gr«it question of beng b the nature of God. and m parucular hli. her. or 
i[s ^sS Car. science iBuminate mis quests, centr.1 « i, is to M-jF-tf 
TteZZ of course, several types of challenge ,n this question. One « to tmn.e 

J££!£Z there ,s no^. Of course i, cannot do this. ^«3~ 

TeUtenCc of a God) should be the ^rting-pofa tor any .rpument. and ,t a the«M 
SCSS ^u. a change of mind, then , b ^^ ^^ 
evidence- A scientist should not b* required to prove a negate- a religious perso 
should be required to prove a positive. K-ause i. puts 

notheingfam-liarwith the experience, -ha, .he.r ^ ^ ; ^ or i( 

. i ^Miiuflv Asdcntist. rwn on« who is not 
an. .don should ** such J * ™ „ nlltaral ctt*-* " l " "J" 

known hov prejudice, ^^^iHbeE^m (to«H««««S.b« shareable 

e*m.*°***** ^^ „. ^bcd » to hand of God doc, no. 

That miracle, b™ been ^l*"™* ^^ t^c ore seemmglv rn.rao.lous 

amo-nt .a r*l-* M**j -« ■ o *£ n » s „ inspectro „ have 

NP*P«r "'r 1 ^ Sv miraculous topping* ** ■» ™ l » J« 
na.uml^U"™- ^"X^-ticn <e*cc P . perhaps 10 ShquB* «*0 the 
tf* reponsand rcqurrc W^*"K JS« delved), David Hume comes |o 
>U!C of m,nd * fc ™ *^ h ., £« h **P "K-rc reason .obehevc .ha. 

No such bid imiadc* hi« cv« occurred- joru offlhki . th,, 

■d^^^^^-^El,™. t* denied, and so we 

" ''""..- . rt f rfc- harvest «e h« w» ta * aten < ' ue5li0nS £,he 0rlgLn ° f 

A ' f* ^ Ul^ aid j^rnoun.ams of chaff (purpose, the art *« 


Betooto have km been concerned with the problem of awmagenwrt. bu. apart 
from the entertainment value of some delightful allegories have ptovided no 
whatsoever. Some deny .hat rebgkm sland* or Wis by its ability lo to th» 
major questu*. orbong. bul others see .1 M perhaps the ultimate or a laod » 
omnipotence, the creation of an entirely new universe from, presumably, absolutely 
nothing. Science, too, canno. explain the incipience of a universe without estemal 
inwrvennoti (orevenwitbimtrvcnuonl.bui it is edging ever closer it> resolving what 
is perhaps the biggest question of all. 

A sign of «he progress thai has been made by science within a span of 300 years, m 
contrast .0 the toul lack of progress stemming from religious speculations in al least 

.!«,« u lone, it the doses, to Ihc momem of incipience thai science can reach. 
« L with .he formuUba e4 EmUta duory of general tcbtrvicy (his theory Of 
n',,.-, it ha« proved possible w two tockvnids with e*kllHa»«ar««a*l 
^^Lsc to within milliseconds of the event taken in mark it* origin. We can even 
!,"L experimental ^enervations on the universe back to about a rmllion yean .after rt 
« olid (by looking ou. .0 great dfaUKCK boa light has taken bdbnm of 
!^ sto reach usl- In fad. even cofllemporary observairans. WCh as detaded mv«- 
! -Mricr! of .he microwave Ivickground radiation, the remnant, of the rngbang ol 
.nceptioi). can be u*d to infer the nature of the (MB accompany,** the format.™ 

° f W,h decking confidetKe. we can even trace .he history ol the «nrv«se back lo 
Jtti about ,n- » second, of * .ncep,.on I wiOtout, needless .0 say, ttomjJT 
"I of Ihc finger of God), although m .« tM> Cose ,0 the Otrgn « ^ 
Xltal«i* -he closer wc reach » ,he ongm. the more dnuhiftd ^»- 
^mrapolue cunen. physical theories. That last remark, however, should «* be 
ctSned « indicating .hat science is failing and beyond to grasp. ^ 
ZnTts .hat science b proceeding cuimudy and drawing on ,ts eva .ncreasng 
Si. of theones and information. A striking and crucially "P°«£-£*£ 
Sn« fa its parience. Sde-lkfa are conservaUve revolutionanes: .hey budd bndg. 
SL 0« into the «a of ignorance U*ing imag,na,K>n and — '^ bu ! ^ 
cltrucion, are firmly roo.ed in the known ami .ested a. every stage. Not for 
hemCefierv leaps of sometimes poetic, emo.ionaliv charged tmag.r.atton » 
SSSA «£«. .-PS thai arc merely nnagmauon however el^a.ery 
dressed they ate in the frappmgs of schobrslup. ....JAemoM 

k. {act and although it " not smelly relevant .0 ih» d.scuss^n. one of the mos. 
' a Sle «pccu of cosmos fa thai obscrsa.ions made in terrCnal laboraton^ 
^fotd to hTapplicable to the en.ire universe. A.thn U gh f^^Xtt 
Z the fundamental eonstan.s and. more broad*, b. ^d.fferem n 
«^Joffm SP ace.,,dl.heobs^a t mr^evickmc^n. S to.^ 
r ^Iv IfTne HuVott Moreover, Ulrica depend croculh; on 

SmUu. panicles, and .he e.remely large (whole ^^*^^^ 

S Sr. !ne whole. theV" -- '"' ««*« mi ^ ^^'^ **" ^ 
ceneralins war rather ihan enhanong understanding. „,:„„.«* 

^K3 Of course *furthcT«mi»nem of this great co^geneucalouesuon. not 

universe^ without the hand ol a creator. ^££*££2 

Won. arc only thaf. .hcv ar, J^XatS SS«t— C » «• 
rv« more than a suggp-tKin— that iCienOB wui nc aitwr 

- l, «varc of 'he nwis and com- 
^ prohUm. M - - S-"!S3S. A. -— fan*. U* r 

'=a« of »u <*•« * ^ mKT6 " !*\ b bK4imi ft« clearer. Fourth, a cnwftil analyti* 
TO „ Icst.very pnm.ln* ■«* * ' f , J^. mtlch simpler .ban casual 

might i) first wan, universe, is such >n important point that ii 

lUft the ^ple compos..^ • I ^! n "" eaUvjboll t the universe, we discover that 

*-■ J " n " * ?!^SS £**« I the reSfc*** -n the God-ft* 

fa* Certain «r*« « ■ J 3™SL and vine; h «> undeniable ** zcrU ' n homjr 

M* ■"* ' n <•"»»*£ SEX3L *«d nc^.rvcclfetric charge, and the 
«o^^-^° ^"^3^"^ ,^ e0U Sdfa. .Wore. that -he Cation 

cs. The same is Irucot angular momcnti 

rri. The tc 

plenty of example* of local angular 

on involve Ac crwiwn 

. t, ,» M km there arc pleniy 01 exarapm »• «««» .». t -.-. 

universe JPP « R » be mj» *«« P ^ Ihe Cfiation ^ w 

" 7" 1 * I T^3rfLJtadSw t e.n g «br"nH.m«««un. fas simply become 
.npfcr momentum overall, the ^^ * ^ ^auonal motion. 

« £<S£ r W ofl-t ».M >o a particularly big **£ any Creator 
H J l>!Tl£d» Ok ^ ««dtoBJr "* munificently. A ™t. ta^t, 
l£ -the svorid fffil. . beadier eye. There .s certainly a great deal *f «£ **"> 
SLto. of thing*, and . «« amount locked up - M. U-rdtng to Efc*e», 
BB and energy W cqu.vale.,1. maM in a sens* being merely a measure of energy 
emtnt m * R»«mK including the almost incalculable total mass of all the pirn* 
However there is also a contribution to the tout energy, d" 1 *"»* from 
tfa gravitational artnetson between all the planets, stars, »d galaxies- There 
r>k» to wppo« that thb vart lout ncg-itivc contribution to the energy a most 
i perrupt completely I cancels the vast positive contribution u> the energy, and thai 
the lotaJcneipy of the universe might be-close lor actually equal) iozcro.Thu*. if this, 
^culilton prove* coned. Ine task of the Creator was not to supply vast amounts ut 
energy but merely to Mpuatc no energy (another aspect of nothing) into poiilrvc 

aad ncgatrtv contribution*. 

Such speculations might be nonsense- Moreover, there are major constituents of the 
universe that are currently almoM completely unknown < such a& the enigmatic dark 
matter thai tcemi to perv*de .ill space). Nevertheless, they point the way to the lact 
that science is in the process of (amplifying the task of accounting for the incipience of 
the universe and giving some hope (hat one day it will be possible to achieve an 
authoritative account of its autonomous inception from absolutely nothing. 

the process of achieving this etucidalion. science is already enlarging our 
! tion of what «- Thus, cuneni (and therefore fragile) theories of the early 
some aspects of which are supported by observation, already indicate 
U1 " ™hat tentatively that this universe is but one of many. If thai vs so. it provides 
,,l M answer to another vexing question: why our universe app« R » be so wil I 
' ' " . for life Tltw so-called fine-tutting pmWcm notes that even small deviation, of 
rrundamenta! constants (such U the charge of an electron) from -heir actual 
I ,« would have catastrophic effects on in the sense that Han would born 
L to produce the elemenis of life, planetary systems would nor long 
TJ1 for evolution to act to produce conscious bern^s. and M on. There are four 
C '3e ScJutiaM of this problem. The religious (that is. l»y) explanation « tat.t the falljp hand of God. who chose me fundamcr>t*l constant, w,th 
^1 foresiBlM and benevolence (to our kind, at least). Then there are the more 
;^rX - nding scientific speculation, One is that any un.vcr* has j. come 
i to wi,h our nriJcr, consents, and thu i, « simply a happy coincidence tat 
"Ses sui.ed our emergence. An alternative b that a universe Can come nto 
SencS * "gbag of values of fundamental constants. However because ,fare 
™v univcrs^ i periaps an infinite number, there b sure (as we have found) to 

,1 ^universes mi S ht seen, pmffiettt 9 nd more demanding than the concept of a 

S-O » omnipotent dei^- (or even a deity with almost no ^potency ). 

Ti imports, question of whether a Creator was involved in the creation*. 

occuid a Z of S pL. and although many will regard it as peripheral to the ^spiritual 

SSI of rdU many remain pu.led by the ^ »«*•*-• J 

um verse. and religioni have sough, to provide answers, rhe sc.ent.hc p«M 

h "t working hard to an ot.erv-at.onauy verifiable account of hesery 
% umversc. and can see that one day .« may be possible to account for » 
incipience without basing to invoke active creation. 


Now for die second ***** quests TV core of d* <J"-£*^ *£ £ 

been of overwhelming importance ... great art ^^ *"™ ' 

siuTering, h«^rung Hon, t^ns « '^^^^tttKpcX 
has. had on minds an impact that nuy -be so ^grej ^^t^^.^^. 
estslution to bdtot, W nu-relyK-cauieUveculturahmpaa of rd »p*rm pe ^ 

«^,h*thcrcbrr»« W !JK*W^ 


.J t n »«<"'■ 

- inwardi? TTtcn arc *** nl problem* here. 
„«, ««« fiul **« * "»»• JW Pfrhl| „ ,hc **** .v the question of 
^d we need to *«.<»«*»" * l f^ OI more generally, whether it is possible tn 

pnapdo" of beauty car, be «»^™ V. te different from the problem of 

co^oitene-.-d^notf ^tmL Of « ifccMJ thai can be formulated math- 
, ^ .nil be «prc«d b«^JJ ^ ^ W in lcTm » of iu 

coutcall, .>ar ^^^ ""* dc . fa | not necessarily a digital compter. 

A-kto * «T ta " tSn * no»»Wy «a«.i«g «■ *«* *- *«* 

^- k '' M ' ClS lor f i' f- *« whole of physical MAT). 
cwmo ^ esi , |or evena *»? °«! => £,, 1HUes , SIKn as arc already being 

TTK.C «*. r«-»* UlulerS,im,in ll^ memory, bu« there * no need to 

£SSi« i^er form of .mMM »■ —* ■ f <" *"«*** «* 

; i ^,™t^ce r ,cd fortheprcsen, -olK--o.--ce.fcn™ 
^eTL been tM we .a « do a vancty of OfM to c^or. 

JE£naIlv hZL For instance, it may be that our appreciation of beauty con u, 
(to faeoormfed (in ihc redudk.n«4-*«n*fi5i sense of reduclKmrtm) Into dan- 

The notion of ^ntualitv atend*. of course, beyond the boundaries of beauty, and 
may be taken to include the sense of moral behaviour. Can science illummiR 
morality, or must « leave that DO religion? To those who disUkc the though, thai 
personal freedoms ibould be infringed by the deliberations of some variety of tribal 
elder and circumscribed by appeal to the compilations of ancient folk -tiles and 
mrlhs known as hc4y KriptW of one bund or Mother, i< would be helpful if 
certain aspects of human behaviour and the notion of good" could be illuminated by 
science. We would then know what is intrinsic to our nature and what Kin been 
imposed by those whose desire it to control. 

We are far from understanding our own nature, but the scientific investigation of 
the origins of behaviour, as represented broadly speaking by anthropology and 
piythology. is increasingly illuminating. In short, there are genetically evolved 
cotttributioo* that represent tranwripti of our long >ounicy through evolutionary 

■ ,m and show the scars of the Hmgg|es«.f our predecessors fol survival. There m 

7he, elective emponen., of behaviour. whe« ovr b« brain* .How us to 

*° .:::„..,,,,„,...,.,„.,,■..:• for good or UK SorfiaeepwKkttl* liog 

ZZ terpUyThese two arpcets wdl . much deeper ■ns.ght .ntoourand 

i «■ stliow than an appeal to ancient written aulhonts 
* rrnaUy Td an aspect of .hcs to renurk. that perception and tefleC.on in some 

Se?uli in Cdllifa- behefs b hardly surprising. One of the most fascutaun? realms 
SSfatoaS b why otherwise intelligent people still believe in gods in general 

1^1 devout; for they were under considerable social pre^ureandhad not 
US e««,sed-how could they ber-.o the enormous advances m scientific 
^SladSoae pas, century. That Isaac Newton «, mtcOKly religious is not an 

^trc of minds. Many intellectual descendant, of Newton haveabobeen fervent 
L . v^s and even tcKlay some noted scscntiMs remain convincetl of 
SI Z cl"d« ha'the vanou, holy books are in some a rdiaMe to 
'IrZT* It rematns a mystery, but one that could be resolved by J«W«Pj 
li^SoSel ligation. S, some M* ^ adhere to a ******* 
„ P Ihl the exrlanatkin* will include a sense of personal msecunty. fo a w» 
«g «i "S retins a source of regret ,h, other scientists should no. have 
S»3«S cou,^ to accept that the natural doe* not need the stipend. 


r" f S fc aT«W.OT r - S -i 

those who bcliew in * «« ^^3^ ^1 ,^ who insider that, 
provided and is currently overseen by (,od) ^^"^L^ft.dffpfc 
ivm time, and in the light of « current success. s..^e wiU ««* P r 

fxplanation «.h,V the universe, all its attributes ^ ^^^Z^rf A, 
human behaviour induding the belief to there r, i J odU nd he - « -8^ 

umversr are aU a natural «MM >• -"J^!f nX * science has 
that their more elaborate hypo^s ..essential So &m no.nmg 

required the intrusion of any flavour ol * 'd 

M , ptTH AT* 

KM Atheism* and its |il|tl6ettS«M ttmMlgh Kknce, 
TlKitfaiftMlP^ 1 ^"^-,., faUdon implicilly «orw humanity by 

**, tM^**^ JJ L-n i«cfc<« to Bh> fo- ^ « ** cou W 
other hand mf<tt*" K V v 
achieve, undman** 










The aim nf cosmology is to understand the large -sca!e tfructurc and overall 
evolution of the universe. It involves both observations — classifying and cata- 
loguing the various contents of the universe — and models to explain these obser- 
vations. Cosmolo gists are particularly interested in the origan of the universe and 
what initial conditions could have led to a worid like the one wc inhabit Most 
adopt the hot big bang, model, which supposes that the universe started in a state of 
great compression some ten billion years ago, but whether the universe wiEl 
rccoUapsc or continue 10 expand forever, or whether it is finite or infinite in extent, 
remain open questions. 

Although cosmology uses input from various branches of science, ii is primarily 
concerned with structures on live scale of galaxies and above. The crucial point about 
such large structures is that they are dominated by gravity, electrical interaction* 
being insignificant because the universe has no net charge. The other two forces in 
nature — the weak and the strong force (involved in nucEear interactions) — are short- 
range, and therefore unimportant <* n cosmological tola. Nevertheless, these forces 
were very Important in the early universe, because the temperature ami density wot 
then high enough for the associated interactions to be significant. Indeed, it is dear 
that many features of the universe must have resulted from processes which occurred 
in the first moments of the big bang. For this reason, early universe Indies have led 
to an exciting collaboration between particle physicists and easmologists. This 
chapter will therefore also refer to recent developments in particle physics. 

140 11 rN*»V* CAKtt 

SmkoMk quarto,* »ddrt.««l b> MW»lo«fcU «* »f *»■% "»«W »W»j 
h domaw df«i%tal All human .ciihum ta* tter ™,.«,n mytf*. Jnd , hc 
„iboi . p* ndl I eo-nnlnpcJ mod* «pl>ally K&etol rrltpom «^ Mnd 

«:nsv l] 




IM eostnrJopsts prefer to em P r»*i~ their link, with SCfcPC* rather than nHi^n. hu 
rW, b a relative!) WOftl dcsclop»"' Indeed, cosmology attained the rtatus of, 
pnpffflteo ffl ni 9 t5.^entlKadvciitofge^^ 
orp^rv-*^ the subject a secure mathematical basis I he discovery of ife 
p^S««J m»inoo in the w» then gave it a firm cmpnciil foundation, and 
Ac dtf ectWof the micros C rvKigrmind nttgfaft- in 19*5 established the hoi big 
bang therm « a branch of iruinaream phyd*. Nevertheless, cosmology is st i|f 
diffea* from most other branches of xkikk one cannot ejtperinwnt wfth the 
unhww— tf may be unique— and speculation* about processes at wry early and 
«ry late times depend upon thcarir* of physics which may never be directly testable 
Becauv of this, more convnative physicists still rend to regard cosmohigiciil specu- 
lations *v going bevowJ the domain of kgatimatc science* although another view is 
that one must change one's concept of what constitutes proper science- 

In order K> dbrus* the relationship between owroology and religion , one must first 
specify * ^lAcotmoJop and which rchgton. Thi* b a 'mplicaied, because religious views 
arc j^c^^ependent (Reflecting the cuhunr and luslorv of the particular pa rt of the world 
where they originated! bur not n*«5Sariry titne-dependem (adherence to scriptures 
1; ■ - *reere hene&K whereas the cosro tends to be lime-dependent 

chrfa^xmnrfmcddeM^iTngjorpaungl >;M butQotsp&c-dcpCndcnt (science by 

j» very nature global enterprise). In this chapter, I will try 10 avoid the :rv: 

pmWem by referring to religion only in v erv broad terms where the d iscussion is. speciiic, 
it wi| refer mainly to the three major monotheistic Western religions. (For further 
reading* a broader perspective ii provided bv Butchins (aoozK) The second problem 
( char of time-depcndcncel is more nindamental, because — as we wiE sec — the relation* 
*hip between cosmology and religion may change as the cosmolopcaJ view evolves. 

The tint pan of this chapter is historical in emphasis: it shows how astronomical 
progress has generally drawn cosmology and religion ever funher apart, and ends by 
summanzmg, various ami -divine arguments. The woindjwT suggests that recent 
doriopments in cosmology may have reversed this trend, and it ends wiUh a summary 
of the pro-divine arguments. The third pin discusses some current topics which are 
likely to have an mtpact upon the future relationship between cosmology and religion. 

How Progress in Cosmology Seems to 

Remove God 

£adr bumans Marled with a jeocenmc' art d 'anmnpocciilric' view, in which the 
neavem were the domain of the drlfu and the universe was very much dine'. 

Humans were the focus of creation, with a direct link to the pod (or gods) who 
ittstained the world. However, this perspective was shattered once science started to 
expand it* domain of interest beyond rhe human scale. By developing new instru 
BKOfe like the telescope and the microscope, it was possible to extend obwrrvalrom 
pun* jrds to scales much bigger tlian humans jnd itfnunfr to much smaller scales. 
Modem cosmology might be regarded as the culmination of this proce-. V-f,ilc 
Che toumey has been intellectually gratifying, it has ata entailed a humbling of 
humanit> and a diminishing role for God. The extent of physical space ss now to all- 
encompassing that there >ecm.s ED be nowhere left for the soul ( Werlheim 1999 h 

The Outward Journey 

The seeds of modern cosmology were sown during the Renaissance period by three 
crucial sieps on the 'outer* front. In \siz Nicola us t opermcus argued that the 
hcliocemric picture provides 3 ampler explanation of plancTary motions than the 
gjcocenrric one. Today the Copemican pnncipEc is taken to mean chat the cniversc 
has 00 centre and looks the same everywhere, although thts idea had! abo been 
proposed b>- Nicholas de Cusa in I444- The advent of this view immediately set 
astronomy at odds with the major monotheistic traditions* all of which assumed the 
Earth to be the centre of the universe. The neaii step occurred when GalUeo used the 
newly invented telescope to show that not even the Sun is speciaS. His observations of 
iiinspoEs .showed that the Sun changes, and in 161a he speculated that the Milfcv 
Way— then known as a band of light in the sky— <onststs of stars like the Sun but at 
such a great distance that they cannot be resolved. This not only cast doubt on the 
heliocentric view, but also vastly increased the size of the known universe. 

The third .step was Mewton's discovery of universal gravity which — by linking 
astronomical phenomena to those on Earth — removed the special status of the 
heavens. Furthermore, the publication of his Prindpm in 1687 led to the 'mechfltusne' 
view according to whkh the universe ts regarded as a gtant machine, For Newton 
himself, this testified to the existence of Od (second letter to Bendey, 10 Deo 1662, in 
Newton 1959-77: 233): 'Blind face could never produce the wonderful uniformity of 
ptanetary movements. Gravity may put the planets into motion but without the 
divine power, it could never put them into such circulating motions as they have.' 
However, this blend of science and theism was not to persist with most o! his 

In the following century astronomers began lo map the vtars and nebulae in ever 
greater detail, and were able to use Newton's equations to explain their motions and 
coniijitirations. In 1750 Thomas Wright proposed that the MiJkv Way b a disc of stars, 
and in 1755 Immanud Kant speculated that some nebulae are 'Wand universes', 
similar to che Milky Way but outside it. Nevertheless, even M the start of the 
twentieth century mc^t .im ro no mers still adopted a Calactocentric view and assumed 
that the Milky Wq comprised the whole universe. For example, this \m Einstein's 
belief when he published hU theory ofgeoeml relativity in 191*. Then in the i$;os the 

m ti&RAMiCAan 

„iea th* scmeof liV Dcbuiaeare oui«dc the M*j> *% b*»* to take hold. For sotne 
fZtlZZ miner of »««c debate, unnl the controversy -^ ftn,Hv resolved m 

2i dramatic nnW. CM to W* *" * l " J~J B ^ B * 
nil* Cot several dor<o nearby gala** and found that ihcv are moving tea> 

2^5-^11 r-r—- - ****** y-a* "j- - ' ■*» 

kw, ,nd it ha* been shown to Iff* » a distance ^ » bdhem lighl-ymv „ reg™ 

containing wo bfflwn gala* i 
Tlxn^ n-tand im^r^tati^of Hubbtcs bw Kl t h At space usell .s expanding 

indeed Kid been predicted b» Akwato Friedmann in 1010 or. ihe basu of pene,.,] 
jdjtrvirr Em«an reined to model -I die time because hr britevrd ibai the 
urnic^c i.e. tJv Milks U jj i wo* static, and he even introduced an extra repulsive 
loin fata tw *nuai»»-*e«nno»ogi£al constant— to allow this possibility. After 
HubNc > duaww* be dcMribcd this h has biggest blunder', although ii transpired to 
be one of hh most profound buigbiv FriedmanrA nwteJ suggested lhal the unfva* 
began in I sure of great compression at a rime in <bc past n ow known 10 be about ia 
bffiioa years ay,*, with all ^axies receding under we impetus of an LniiiaJ explosion. 
IT ts imcrerin& dial the perswn who did most lo champion this picture was a priest, 

George* Letnaitre. 

Although ihe discovery of the cosmological expansion gave the big bang theory a 
secure empirical foundation, if was still some lime before il gained lull recognition, 
fw example, when thev were working on cosmoEogtcal nucleosynthesis in the 1940s, 
Ralph ASpher and Robert Herman ii?W recall; 'Cosmology was then a sceptically 
regarded disapune. not worked in by sensible scientists.' Throughout the 1950s there 
was also the competing steady stale tbrory. which accepted the expansion of the 
universe but J5>umcd ihai there is continuous creation of matter, so that il always 
looks the same However, in the i<#os astronomers obtained increasinr* evidence 
the universe a eiuhing: firs, from radio source counts and the discovery of quasars, 
and then, mod decku'vety, from the discovers- thai the universe is bathed in a sea »! 
background radiation. This radiation is found to hare the same temperature in every 
director) and to have a Wack-hody spectrum, implying thai the universe must once 
have bcrn sufficsentiy compressed for il lo have interacted with the matter. Subse- 
quent studies of mis radiation, moal recently by satellites such as COBE and WMAP, 
hawc revealed the tiny temperature fluctuations associated with the density ripples 
which eventually Jed lo ihe formation of galaxies and clusters of galaxies. George 
S moou prj gppal imesrjgaior of the COBE project, described the pic ture of these 
rippJo as the 'tee of God, today one of the prime aim* of cosmologies is to study 
this 'face' in ever greater derail 

The loss decade Jus seen even more dramatic developments. Although one would 
expect the expansion of ihe universe to slow down because of gravity, ream 
observations suggeu thai Ok mansion is actually auclaating. We do noi know 
for sure what ts causing dm, but ii must be some? exotic form of 'dark energy', mod 
fcably relied to the cosmolojical repulsive term introduced by Einstein 10 
matar die universe italic. Another idea which ha* become popular is dial our 

cojholoov Ahn »ri n;toN 143 

entire univme may be jiwl one n>embcr of 1 huge ensemble of uniwrso called 
the multiverse' More conservative cosmolo^is would prefer to maintain Ihe 
fosmwrirrric view ihot ours «* the only universe, bui perhap* ihe tide of history n 
j gainst ihe in. 

This brief historical review or progress on the outer front illustrates three point*. 
First, the expanding vntaa opened up by cosmological progress have come M a 
pHce: tlse bigger she universe has g.nrwn, the more insignificant humans have 
become. Second, the heavens have been progressively slnpped of their drvinity. 
5Twc can no lunger delude ourselves into thinking that we have some special or 
singular connection with a Creator. Third, cosmology has had to strive constantly 
to- maintain its scientific respectability, battling not only religious but also soentirk 

The Inward Journey 

progress on the inner from has also been unsettling. With the advent of aiomk 
theory in the eighteenth century eamc the first hints thai our experience of the >mall 
is just as limited a* our experience of the Large. While the discovery yielded crucial 
insighu inio chemistry, as a firsi step towards rcductiomsm. it was as disturbing lo 
religious orthodox)' as the Copernican principle. Atomic theory was also linked to 
statistical mechanics,, and this put another cloud on the horizon; for the second law 
of ihcrmodynarflics suggested thai the universe must eventually undergo a %m 
death', with lift and all other forms of order inevitably deteriorating. 

Al first atoms could be viewed as solid objects, like billiard halls* but further 
dramatic deselopmcnts came early in the twentieth century. The 'billiard ball" picture 
was demolished by the realization that an atom is mainly empty space, with electrons 
in orbit around a nucleus comprised of protons and neutrons. Even ihe solidity erf 
the atomic constituents was *oon removed with the discovery of quantum theory: 
elementary panicles became fuzzy, ephemeral entities, described by a 'wave function' 
which is smeared out everywhere, and ihe classical deierminiHk laws were replaced 
by probabilistic ones. Quantum mechanics shattered our view of the micro-wcrid 
just as much as relativity theory shattered our perspective of the macro-world. The 
probing of the micro-world also ctnphaaiicd out vulnerability, for we discovered the 
strong and weak nuclear forces, and thereby unleashed an awesome new source of 

On the other hand, the inward journey has reaped huge intellectual rewards: it has 
revealed that everything is made up of a small number of fundamental particles (e.g. 
protons and nucleoli* arc made of quarks) interacting through fust four forces; 
gravity; ekcttorTugncibm. the weak force, and the strong force. These interaction* 
hwc different Mrciigirn and characteristics, but il is now though! that the lasi three 
can be unified as pari of a 'Grand Unified Theory (GUT). Ii may also be possible to 
incorporate gravity into the unification using mi persuing', which has led some 
physicists la proclaim thai we are on the verge ol obtaining a 'Theory of Everything' 

The Mecro-Miero Connection 

Tafc* together. «Mifc rW** on both the outer **d .he inner &*»« can 
..jJX rwarded as a triumph. In prtkulir. has rcttakd a unity to 
^iew whicb imI» " dwr liul everything is connected in a way whrch worn* 
hjvr seemed irvoncerrabk a few decade* igo. This unity b turtiM :ily encapsulated in 
thcuna^ofuV LVoftc^iThttBiba^ in Figure 9.1. and demonstrates the imimai, 
link henwen the macroscopic domain (on the left) ami the microscopic domain 
Ion the ri*0. ^^ numbers at the edg< ■»*»* lh * «** of thc « «Rictura i 
tcnaiDctrct As one mow dodkwi« from the tad W ihe head, the Kale increas* 
through sixty decade* from Ihe smaflflf meaningful scale allowed by quantum 
gravtiv BOl in we scak of the «ftfe universe (*>» <m>. TTic scafes are also 

pvai in units of »" p em in parentheses. 

< y am, ft| lt llf , 


fig. 91, 

A further aspect of the Urobonis is indicated by the horizontal lira*. These 
<wrofnnd to the four interaction! and illustrate the subtle connection between 
mitrnphystes and macrophysies. For example, the electric" lime connects an atom to a 
mountain, because The structure of a solid object n determined by atomic and 
inrcrmolecular forces, both of which are electrical in origin. The 'strong' and 'weak* 
line* connect A nucleus to a star, because the strong force which holds nuclei together 
also provides the energy released in the nuclear reactions which power a star, and the 
wrak force which causes nuclei to decay also prevents stars from burning out too 
icon- The 'GUT' lint connects the grand unirkatton scale with galaxies and clusters 
because the density fluctuations which led m these objects originated when the 
temp*™ *ure of the universe was high enough for GUT interactions to be important 

The significance of the head meeting the tail n that the entire universe vras once 
compressed to a point of infinite density. Since light travels at a finite speed, we cam 
never sec further than the distance fig,hi has travelled since the big bang, about 10* 
light vears; more powerful telescopes merely probe to earlier times, Cosmologjsts 
now have a Fairly complete picture of ihe history of universe- A* one goes back in 
time, galaxy formation occurred at a billion years after the big bang, the background 
njdi.ilion lass interacted wilh matter at abniu .1 mil on ;v.t<-. -In UBCTCneft tntrC' 
was dominated by its radiation content before about 10.000 years, light elements 
were generated through cosmologkal nucleosynthesis at around three minutes, 
antimatter was created at about a microsecond (before which there was just a tiny 
excess of matter over antimatter), electroweak unification occurred at a billionth of a 
second (the highest energy which can be probed experimentally), grand unification 
and "inflation* (an extra rapid expansion phase) occurred at to*" seconds, and the 
quantum gravity era (the smallest meaningful time! was at 10" u seconds. 

Arguments for ihe Absence of God 

At this point cosmology and particle physics might appear to collude to diminish the 
sums of humans and, by implication, the role of God. The heavens have hern 
deprived of their divinity, and the more we understand the universe, from the vast 
expanses: of the cosmos to the tiny world of panicle physics, the more soulless it seems 
to become, As Steven Weinberg w-7) say*." "Hie more the Universe seems compre- 
hensible, the more it seems pointless.' Let us summarize the reasons for gloom. 

Humans ort^ insignificant The steady progress from the geocentric to heliocentric 
togalasloceniitc to cosmocentric view shows thai human* — as judged by scale— are 
completely insignificant. We are equally imigmrkant as judged by duration: 
the lifetime of an individual — and even an entire civiliialion — is utterly Dc$ugibk 
compared to the nmescaJc on which the cosmos functions. If the history of the 
universe were compressed into a year* Homo sapiens would have persisted lor only a 
few minutes. Nor is it clear how Jong humans will persist in the future, since we are 
prone to dangers from both without uvreroids, marauding black holes, exploding 
stars) and within (nuclrardcM ruction, somedevastatin^ new virus). Brerylrwipin the 


■ fc*NA«P< *** 

m, mi foe presence of humans, ir seems, mre* Kcdem« ihr 

( ffrmO iapirns, fat from bein(ia unique creatmp 


V AM' 111 HillJM 


PTPCOtt' OarwniV thowy of evi 

human* from » biolopcal rwr>pcviivr. 

in ScG.fdcn o£M» b >um the latest stage of development b .. senc* of Itotagiai 

L!at,»n* For » *hik one trig* ft* think of God U mllltion or imtiai^ 

• ncrtwnK^nrbci |mi : nnr n^oodtf lt«ndimidt But tfhiimMi 

«„ i^temr^nl and ephemeral, hm Oil one belie* in the ex.stenc* of a God in 
*h«e asm wr ^ .uprvtwd to have been created and who care* aboul us? 

The he bane rtmm the nteJ f# * <&* «»* 0nc '"dinona! argument Tor 
Cod a that he S required 10 OHR the unmetse, Even thptigh few people nov, 
interpret rtfcgious creation myths-like the biblical account in Qrnoiis-h'lcralry, 
ihr idea that Lhc universe must haw some first cause stfli has appeal. Although ih c 
big bang provider a w*r «**«» P*™^ for ,fac &**&en of the universe, this does 
»loeaOTriivpn^udeGod.flncconec^ Who* ihe fuse?' Indeed, the 

fact that The universe had a finite beginning was claimed by Pope Pius Xlt in 195: 
to support Genesis. Implicit here is the notion thai the physical description 
0/ creation w incomplete, since 11 must break down at sufficiently .early limes. 
On the other hand, as lime proceed*. cosmolog) 4 Seems TO have provided an 
ever more complete description. For example, one could envisage the following 
cat edusrn -style dialogue 

Mow did ihe unncne «npnatc J "TV uwvene started as a state of compressed matter, Bui 
tr did uV nstter come from? The matter arose from radiation a* a result of GITT 
ptoCeiWOCcain^whenthconnTrvludthesiieafj grapefruit. But «hcrt did sr* radiation 
cane otmd? The radiation was generated from empty space as a result of j vacuum phase 
trm*itK-iiL Bui wterr did space come from! Space appeared from nowhere as a revutt of 
qpamum |javitv effectv But where d*l the bws of quantum gravity come from? The laws of 
^ uanium gravity are pro&aWy no morr wan ni*ci«Iiiei- 

Each step m this dialogue represents marry* years of painstaking theoretical work, hut 

the upshot is clear. No first cause is needed because the universe contains its own 

explanation, a View propounded by Stephen Hawking CzOOi). Even if God does exist, 

not dear that he could have created the universe diherently. 

The iacfMrw, ggfafotf mmd, a put a machine Since The Enlightenment, the 

prevailing soeiiliiic view has been that the universe — and everything within it — is 

rust a machine. Indeed, every technological innovation is based on this assumption 

Bos if the material content of the universe dots not reflect the exigence 01 God, how 

about our minds? Perhaps consciousness is ihc 'ghost in the machine' which testifies 

lo his existence. Unfortunately, recent advances in brain research and artificial 

irttdttgence suggest thai even the mind a a machine. We may appear to have free 

I. but this could njst be an illusion, consciousness being the mere excretion of 

brains. Machines already think more uuiddy. remember more precisely, and decide 

ntcuigenth than mere human minds, and it has evert been claimed that they 

may eventually develop consciousness. 

The anti-divine arguments arc summed up very cogently by Peter AOuni 11995. 
fl !» Chnpter a above), who cUims thai the brrud fc.uurca of ihc world arc uniquely 
specified by ihe fad that »I has emerged from nothing an.l must permit the dcYfli- 
opmeni of complexity. There IS no Creator, no purpose, and we oui-tetveiE are merely 
the product of chance. Indeed, it seems that science has expunged the need for any 
djrine element in the wc.ild so completely that Richard Uawkim can now dismiss 
believers In a Creator *s scientifically illiterate', 

Has Further Progress in Cosmology 

Reinstated God? 

Curiously, in recent decides cosmology ha* brought aboul a reversal in thus trend. 
This is mostly related to the suggestion that mind may be o fundamental rather than 
an incidental feature of the universe, although linking this notion to God is nor 

The Unity, Beauty, and Comprehensibility of the Universe 

The unity of creation and the intimate link between Ihe macroscopic and the 
microscopic, so aptly encapsulated in the Urohorus. has led tome scientists to see 
evidence of a great intelligence ai work in the universe. For example. Tames leans 
(19.11) famously remarked that "The Universe is more- like a greaE thought than a great 
machine"- This impression derives trom the fact that the world » so cleverly con- 
structed, At the very least, the coherence of the laws which regulate it sterns to point 
to the existence of some underlying organizing principle I Davfcs 199$). "This also 
relates to the question of why the universe is comprehensible at alL It seems 
remarkable that, after uist a lew millennia, we mc already on the verge of a 'Theory 
of Everything'. As Roger Penrose U997* has emphasized, there seems to be a closed 
circle: the laws of physics lead to complexity, tiwipUxity culminates in mind, mind 
leads to mathematics, and rnashein-utts allows an understanding of physics. Why 
should ihe structure ol ihe world rcnect the structure of our minds, and whv should 
our brains have the ability to generate the required m*ilherrwtu rf 

There i*. al*o an inherent hejuty in the universe. The nature of this beauty as hard 
to define, but 11 involves mathematical elegance, simplicity, and inevitability. In 
particular, .ill the laws of nature seem 10 be a consequence of a simple set of symmetry 
principles. For example, symmetrizing electricity and magnetism uva Maxwells 
equations; symmetrizing space and lime gives special relativity; and invoking gauge 
symmetries lends to Ihe unification of ihc forces of nature. Such ^yinmetries can he 

i leans 

,.;•• »| BVAHP CAR* _ 

im*.«l ool, imrllrtfuaJiy, hut ** W P^oundry elegant and can be v^ 
S^for pUvKte The importance of beauty «• W««^ *< PauH*,, 
whTcIairned that 'BWI| fo <*»'*>* is nwr ir > than fitung cxpmnicnu 

ICr* .*SsX -*vd bv lahn Wheeler i *77k who *»<*- One day a door w || >urd v optn 

j «* knmuti ni" the world in all its K-iM- v *^. 

,Colr nft . -rvd by Jahft Wheeler TW7I. ™» *»-- *™ "/ "\ 7» ™f 

and expose the tjincriqf «nal median, of the «»fM u, all it* beauty 




The Anthropit Principle 

In the Us! fertT years tilcre h ** developed a reaction to the mechanistic view, wh Ecfeo 

irrroed the Anihrop^ Principle 1 Barrow and Tipler i$8fr >. This claims that, in som* 

rrqxvU the Universe has to be the way it « because otherwise it could nol produce 

fcfe. and we would not I* here speculating about it. Although the term anthropic' 

derives from the Greek word for man. it should be Stressed that this is neatly a 

Niiomer, since most of the argument* pertain to life in general. 

As a ample example of an anthropk argument, consider the question, Why is The 

universe as big as it is? Tne mechanistic answer is thai, at any particular time, the size 

oi the ubservabk universe is the distance travelled by light since the big bang, which 

h now about io'* lipjit - year*. There is no compelling reason why the universe has the 

ate a does: it just happens to be to 10 years old. There is, however, another answer to 

this question, which RobcxtDicke i'i^i < first gave. In order ft>r life to exist, there 

roust be carbon, and this is produced by cooking inside stars. The process lake* about 

to 10 »carv so only after this time can stars explode as sirpernovae, scattering the 

newly baled elements throughout space, where they may eventually become part of 

bae-crolnn^ pUncti. On the other hand, the universe cannot be much older than 

K» 10 years, or cbe aD the material would have been processed into stellar remnants. 

Since all the forms of lift wc can envisage require stars, this suggests that it can only 

oast when the universe is aged, about 10" yeans. 

So the very hectics* of the universe, which seems at first to point to hununity's 

inatgniricancc. it actually a prerequisite for our existence. This is not to say that the 

universe itself could not exist with a different size, only that we could not be awareof 

it. Dkfcei argument is an example of what is called the 'Weak Anihropic Principle', 

and ir no more than a logical necessity This accepts the constants of nature as given, 

and then shows that our existence imposes a selection effect on when { and where) we 

obierv* the universe. Much more controversial is the Strong, An i hmr. . ij le". 

wfeich ttys that there are connections between the coupling constants (the dimen- 

sinless numbers which chaxacteruc the strengths of the four interaction^, in order 

tb*3 observers can arise (Can- and Rees 1979). Fot caample. the existence of convecl- 

tve and radiairve stars (both needed for life) requires that there be a tuning' between 

: electric and graviuiioriai coupling constants; heavy elements like carbon can be 

EUd from itars m i«|Kraova exploswn* only because there is a lumng beiween the 

ind gravnaiional coupling constants; and an interesting variety of chemical 



dements casts only because there is a tuning between the electric and strong 
coupling constants. There arc also anihropn constraint! an various coimologica) 
parameters, uuluding the cosmological constant and the amplitude of the initial 
density Oueiuat!on^ whith ntai to he finely tuned for galaxies <ft form. 

Asferasweknnw. the rdatinnshirHdi^ussed above are not predicted by any unified 
iheory, and even if they were. 11 would be rernarkuteihai uSetrseot^ 
the coincidences required for hie. Cmrnofogjsts have therefore nimed to nwe Fadical 
interpretations of theanthropic coincidences. The first possibility— clearly reWmt to 
thesejcncr-rdlgion debate— is that they reflcenhe existence of a ■beneficent bemg" wfv* 
ufor-made the universe for our convenJence. Such an mterpretaiion is logically 
possible, birt most physicists are uncomfortable with it Another possibility, proposed 
by Wheeler 1 1077!, is that the universe doe* not properly exut until consciousness has 
arisen. This is based on the notion that the universe is described by a quanturn- 
rnechanic.1l wave function, and that consciousness « required fo collapse this waw 
function. Once the universe has evolved consciousness, one mighl think of it a 
reflecting back on its big bang origin, thereby forming a dosed circuit which brings 
the world into existence. Even if consciousness really docs collapse the wave function 
(which is far from certain t. this explanation is also somewhat metaphysical 

The third possibility — discussed in more detail later — is thai there is not just one 
universe but lolsof them, all with different, randomly distributed coupling constants, 
|n this "raultiversc" proposal, we just happen to be in one of the small fraction of 
universes which satisfy the anthropic constraints. Of course, invokmg many uni- 
verses is highly speculative, especially since the other universes may never be directly 
detectable, so some cosmologjsts remain uncornibrtable with the idea. Nevertheless, 
many antjiropically-inclincd physicists are attracted to the mult i verse because it 
seems 10 dispense with God as the explanation of cosmic design. The Strong 
Anthropic Principle — rather than having ideological significance — just becomes an 
aspect of the Weak Anthropic Principle. 

The Anthropic Principle also explains why the history of the big bang allows an 
Increasing degree of organization to develop. As the universe expands and cools, a 
'Pyramid of Complexity' arises, with different levels of structure as one goes from 
quarks (at the bottom) tonucleonsto atoms to molecules to celts and finally to living 
organisms (at the lop)* Despite the earlier pessimistic notion of heat death, no 
violation of the second law of theiniodyTwrmcs. is involved, because local pockets 
of order can be purchased at the expense of a global increase 111 entropy. These 
structures arise because processes cannot occur fast enough in an expanding nnfrffiC 
to maintain equilibrium. However, disequilibrium is only possible because of the 
anihropic fine-tuning of the coupling constants. This suggests that the Anthropic 
Principle should really be interpreted *& a Complexity Principle. This also tfaTOW 
light on the dilcrnma of what qualities as an observer in anthropic consideration* 1 i.e. 
what minimum threshold of awareness is required). If one regard* mind* Ij.c. 
hrains?j as die vulmin-ttmn of iomplexiiy, this does nol matter much because^ — at 
least on Earth — the development of brains Hrnis to have occurred very quickly once 
the final signs of life atom-. 

ICO ■! MfcllSC*** 

Argumenrs for the Prince of God 

fee end of the last put None * *« «■ «*«***-««« C*l probity neither 
JUr nor improve the existence rf l*J-bui ** *«■ ** W» l^nghorne 
ifcsexirxs e> nudge toots*. , — ,,_». t i 

jy««ww-or at fan* ampltxiir-** mtraI lhff Uroborus ^W «W* «Jwi 
hunuwnuvbcunpotwi i al'.iniratwer*cupya special ♦ymmciry point near 
the bottom Wt are not at Ac centre of Ae universe sjeograpfu^ulv, hul we arc 
uibcflafaft: ^rv.thisa^urneni woukialw apply to any other life fom 

or Yammer of mmd which may have evolved in the universe. Many people have 
emphawred that there seems toki "life principle ac work in the cosmos, bin ihc 
presence of lift rttfl require* the special anthropic conditions necessary for the 
Pymn^ofCompknn (©«■» Whether these conditions reflect thecxiMcncc of a 
□rattl Of a mirfthwft our presence is no longer irrerevant. 

Tfcr «ni'r>- te" prote wa ft ffl Q I '^ i^hwsr J>*rtf w a Criufar Even 

though the btg ban? explains mam; features of the universe, wc have seen that modern 

*it* his revealed other aspect* a( nature which seem to point to some- underlying 

intcfl^enccJlispotoihtXlhpUgh noToWigainry 1 lo link this to the notion of God, at 

least m i dentic noo-personaJ sera* (Danes I993)> This might seem reminisces of 

Pakviareumem— and subject H thcumecritidsm—butnisinorcsubtlc.Foritisthc 

taws themseho. rather than the structure* to which ibey give rue 1 — the underlying 

nmphem rather than the complexly — which are so striking. To those of a religious 

dnposJtK-n. the mi cade of matter maj therefore provide some iniiroittioh of thedivine. 

Sftmi u fundamental to rite cmnrn The Uraborus also represents the blossoming of 

consciousness. The physical evoluuon of the universe from the big bang (at the lop) 


ime&rAuirvolunon. in which mind — through scientific progress— works its way up 
both udes lothe top a gam. Indeed as tndicaicd by the outer arcs, the Upjborus can be 
interpreted JittfoiicaJry as representing how humans have systematically expanded the 
ootcnnojj and irmerrnosi limits of their awareness. In lerrm of scale, it is striking that 
sacrfcx has already expanded the macroscopic frontier as far as possible, although 
eaaTOTmentalhr we may never get much below the elcttnmcak scale in the microscopic 
direction. The foci that science real] \ provide** sequence of mental models, each progres- 
»vd>' removrd from common-sense reality, also emphasizes the importance of mind. 

Recent Developments 

Mom of the arguments presented to &r could have been made a decade ago. In this 
ion. [ wflj highlight *ome correni covnofopeal issue* which may influence the 
fuwe rcbnramhip between science and rehgion, although the direction of ihai 
-*" TstiU unclear 


Extraterrestrial Life 

The afllhrnpic coincidences suggest that life * a tundarnenial rather than an inci- 
dental feature of the universe but this does not resolve the issue of how pervasive life 
|l |f the universe is conducive to life, either bee. 1 use it was designed ih.-U way or 
because ii is a privileged member of a multiverte, one might anticipate that life would 
,1 in other place* besides Earth. Since the Western monotheistic religions plate so 
much emphasi* on the uniqueness of human beings, this is very crucial to the 
xience-rcligion debate. 

From 1 theoretical point of view, the abundance of Hfe in the universe depends 
upon the product of two numbers, one very Urge and the other very small. The very 
tage number is the number of stars in the observable universe, while the very small 
number is the probability t Pi thit life will be associated wiih any particular star. The 
first number is weU known: there are to 1 ' stars in our galaxy and to 11 galaxies in the 
observable uniswe, so there are roughly to" stars in totat. The value of P is much 
[ess dennitc, the main uncertainty being the likelihood that sclf-replkarmc, cc0s 
(which one assumes are necessary' for life) arise on any life-conducive planet. Once 
ihts happens, it scerro plausible that life will evolve fairly rapidly to form creatures 
like us, but it is the first step which is problematic. 

There arc various points of view, dependingon how small one believes P to be. For 
the Earth to be the only site of life in the Galaxy. P would need to be less than 10 - ". 
/\n empirical argument for this relates to the so-called Fermi-Hart paradox; af 
advanced life forms have evolved elsewhere in the Galaxy, then one would expect 
ai least some of these to have spread throughout the Galaxy and mack contact with 
us. However, even with one civilisation per galaxy, the cosmos would still in a sense 
he teeming with life. For F^rth to be the only site of life in the entire observable 
universe, which might be regarded as the pessimistic view; P would need to be less 
than io" 22 . The argument for this is theoretical, and stems from low estimates of the 
probability that self-replicating cells can arise from biological molecules by random 
processes in the io 10 years permitted by the big ban&. 

Neither of these arguments is compelling. The first might be regarded as seif- 
def eating since, if every civilization accepted it. none would ever embark on the 
programme of space exploration presumed at the outset. The second is unconvincing 
because estimates of P are too uncertain-, recent developments suggest that life might 
arise much more easily than a .simplistic analysis would suggest (Kauffman I99$>. "We 
may therefore turn lo the more optimistic view. The number of stars at a particular 
lime expected to be associated wiih life intelligent enough to be able to communicate 
is given by the Drake equation. This is the piodufil of a number of factors, some of 
which can be determined by astronomy; but the result is thai the number of 
communicating civilizations in the Galaxy ai any time is roughly the lifetime 0< l 
typical civilization in years. (The discrepancy with the earlier view hinges on the 
value of P.J At this stage, ii is impossible to assert with confidence whether the 
pessimists of the optimists are correct. 

Astronomers are now actively looking for radio signals from extraterrestrial civil 
izatinns, but have not yet found any Whatever tlte outcome of their search, it feEkety 

ftllNMH CA«"< 

tc.h J v 1 a„.n3n funrimpi t l I . I Vc^,rae<«l* S igIial.lhri« n iv« 5 cK.ill 

ndier place bui *< le**' •* ,>n Iar,) ' wia havc lwccnK raorc l* rccious * *nd we 
*iB b«c been reared ID our pr-Copernk»i status, if we * detect a signal, lhe 
«raoW! reehisolotfcatand pwhap*ei«i«pri«iKJ<«w*qu«i*:« will be immense 
There H *■«*« m which this would raise OUT lew! of consdttiWMSS from a planctan 
loaGabebc level. Both tftuaftons would haw important rdipOtt* implications. 

God and the Multivcrse 

There to been a mnfcmrntaJ change in the qntf cmnlopcd status of the Anthropic 
Princifdeinthr last decade became of the reaction that most models of ih* origin 
of Ac univerw mu>lv* some form of multiverse (CarraooS). Admittedly, cosmolo- 
gy na« wtfety va^ing views un Imwcunrrcrti universes might arise. Some invoke 
models in which the universe tu*d>rg« cycles of expansion and recouapsc, With the 
constants undergomg change at each bounce. Others invoke the inflationary scen- 
ario, in which our universe is iust one of many bubbles, all with different laws of low. 
rncfev physics and diflerent coupling comaflnts. An interesting variant of this h 
turnal netotw I .mde 19**), in which the universe is continually self-reproducing. 
Ihe -UL. thai our universe u a 'branc in I m'ghrf-dimcmjonaj 'bulk' leads to 

another mutoveTsc scenario, with ci'Diskt-ns between brarics producing multiple big 
banp. A further jv»wtbrlrtv is associated with the 'many worlds' interpretation of 
quantum mechanics. *inee this seems to be the only sensible context an which to 
dbcu>- inrurn cosmology. A comprehensive review of these scenarios has been 
tided by legmark (199&). 

In assessing the mulriverse hypothesis, a key issue is whether some of the physkaf 

constants are contingent on accidental features of symmetry breaking and the initial 

conditions or our umverse, or wheiher some tadarnental theory will determine all 

of them ranqurh Only in the first case would there be room for the Anthropic 

Pnneirlc hence many physicists prefer the latter view. But how likely & this? The 

rreni tavounrr candidate for a fuodauienlai theory is the supcrstrmg proposal. 

Ihas posits that spatefirnc fc* cither lea-dimensional (supergravity) qrelevcn-dimen- 

M -theory), with foui-dimensional phy.sics emerging from the corn pact iftca- 

1 c extra dimensions. Some people have argued that M-theory may predict all 

he fundamental consults uniquely, the only input being the size of the eleventh- 

ever, other people claim that M-rhcory could permit a huge number 

urn ,u:cx; the constants may be uniquely determined within each one. but 

Id ty different across the states ihcnwho. This corresponds to what has been 

termed me string landscape' scenario (Sualdnd 2005). The crucial issue is whether 

■lumber of vacuum states is lufficiently Urge and their spacing sufficiently small 

to allow room for anthropic constraints, 

A very afferent multrvprsc proposal comes from Lee Smolin (1997). who argue* 
thas the physical conaanto have evened to their present values through a process akin 
to muutwn and natural selection. The underlying physical assumption is that 


whenever IMttH gets Sufficiently Compressed Co undergo gmvitationaJ collapse into a 
black hole, it p*ct birth to another expanding unimse, in whkh mc Wamentol 
OHUtarlti arc slightly mutated. Since nur own universe began in a state of great 
density (i.c. with .1 higbang), it may itself fame been generated in this way fi.e. via 
gravitational collapse in some parent universe). CosmologicaJ models with eontiuiH 
permitting ihe formation of Mark holes will therefore produce pmgenv (which may 
each produce further black holes since the constants arc nearly Ihe same), whereas 
ihosc with the wrong constants will be infertile, TTirough successive generation* of 
universes, the physical constants will ihen naturally evolve to have the values foi 
which bUck hole (and hence baby universe) production t$ maximized. Smolm 
proposal involves very speculative physics, since we have no undcfstandiag of bow 
the baby universes are born, but it has the virtue of being testable, since one can 
calculate how many black holes would form if the parameters were different. 

The rmritrrcrse proposal certainly poses a serious challenge to ihe theological view 
and it is not surprising that atheists find it a more pkuiible aplanaiion of the 
anthropic fine-tunings. However, the dichotomy between God and muhiversc may 
be too simplistic. While the fine-tunings certainty do not provide unequivocal 
evidence for God. nor would the existence of a multiversc preclude Cod since 
there is no reason why a Creator should not act through the multiversc, The 
theological case has been defended by Holder (2004). 

The Origin of the Universe and the Nature of Time 

Classical physics breaks down at the big hang itself because the density of the unherse 
becomes infinite. Mso v the notion of spaoetime as a smooth continuum foils because of 
quantum gravity effects; there must be a 'singularity" where general relativity breaks down. 
Some eosmologjsts try to avoid this problem by having the universe bounce at some finite 

drmiry {e.g, due in a erKmnlngii-a! constant). In uSi* ca*c. the present cxparuaon would 
have been preceded by a collapsing phase, and the unherse may even have exist ed eternally. 
However, if there was a big bang singularity, it means that time itself must haw been 
created there. Quantum cosTnolug)- purports to describe this process, and even 
the universe can be created as a quantum fluctuation out of nothing (isham 19&&). 

In standard quantum theory, prntwbilities ak associated with physical states. In 
quantum cosmology, these stales arc uHree-dimensional spatial hypersnrfeces. with time 
being defined internally in terms of their curvature. To determine the evolution of the 
unherse, one then uses a 'sum-owr-flLtiories* calculation whkh allows for all possible 
paths from some initial spatial hyperJke co another final one. Tlw crucial dcv<dopment in 
this approach was the 'no boundary^ proposal of rlartk and Hawking (1083). This 
removes the initial surface by making lime imaginaxy there, thus adroitly sidestepping 
trie usual philosophical problems -associated vriih a moment of creation, l>rees(i«o»has 
e.vp5ored the theological implications of this picture in some detail, but it is uncEcar to 
what extent quantum cosmology really docs impinge on theology at this particular 
interface. There is still a basic divtinction between the question of hmv the universe 

Concluding Remarks 

CoanokHW 4<Wre*** Jurxkmental oucstions about the origm of matter, mind. and 
I ire dtairlV idrvaa to rri.pon. so theolo^a** wed to be aware of the 
utfw ft provide, In a ^ cc*mc%y should provide SOW of the raw materia] 
from which leGgwu* belief is fashioned- Of course, the remit of religion goes well 
berond the matcrijitfrie issues which are the focus of cosmology. Nevertheless, 
inasmuch as reiigwos and to&mologicaJ truths overlap, they muit t* compatible 
Thi* ha» been aresscd by George £BU (19*0. who distinguishes between Ccamologj 
i Kith a big C>— vtk* ute into account 'the magnificent gesture* of humanity'— 
and cosmology (with I small c). whidrjust focuses on physical aspects of the universe. 
In ho view, morality b embedded in the cosine* in some fundamental way 1 d. Leslie 
1989). and although science cannot deal with such issues, individuals count 

Tne rcuiurctnent that cosmology And rdipon should be compatible Jus two 
anportanl impfcciuons. first, it mikes a 'Cod of the paps' view very unattractive 
from a thco^K-al fvnpecrivc. since it implies that reiigjon is always on the retreat as 
cosmology advances. Second, since science progresses by a series of paradigm shifis, 
each providing a better approximation to reality than the previous one. but none 
representing uhimate truth (Kiihn 1970}. one should be wary of religious claims to 
posses* absolute <God-§jvenl truths* Indeed, one might expect religion — like sci- 
ence — to undergo paradigm shifts, so that even some questions addressed in the paw 
ic-p the location ot heaven and hcJIj become meaningless, ror example, such a shiti 
would petiumably be triggered by contact with extraterrestrials- 

Ocafh none of the pro-divine or anti-divine arguments presented in this essay are 
derisive, and ux -evident* provided by the study of the physic*] world w£l probably always 
be oqui»xaL Btn those cosmoiogUu who are mystically inclined have not usually based 
their faith oa sdeminc revelations (Wilbur 2001). More relevant perhaps are studies of 
axueaousness and the world of mind. Such mvesligatjons certainly go beyond: damm! 
prniics, since there b a bosk incompatibility between the localized features of mechanism 
and the unity of comckru*. experience. On the other hand, the classical picture has now 
been rcpiaad bra more boustkoaiannimone, and there arc some indications thai Irffl 
c&t indudcajnscaou&ness. In any case, many peopkajxsceptkaJofanernptstofomiuJaif 
a Theory of Everything which neglects such a conspkniousaspecc of the world. Jt Is even 
conceivable that some future paradigm of physic* will incorporate mind explicitly in some 
way. If so. iha wiD surely transform the naiuroof iht-%cirTKe-tel^ionconrKt:t^nmvrar-> 
to cone 

COSMatoav ano mucin* us 

Refcufncbs and Suggested Reading 

AiHim R. A. and Hmmax. R. UoU). IWlectiom oti Early Wo* im Bk B*ng <^vmol«ff; 

Phy.ucf Today. 4": aa-j* 
Atkins R >=W Cnmrion Revisited. CM ford: Freeman. 
8aKM» I I ' «* Tii'liiu F- J. 1 19M). The Anihnpk Gumotagteal Prinesptt. Oxford and New 

Yorfc Oxford Univeruiy Pre**, 
BncwiKS- A. (raoa}. TV Nummout leswy. Aklenhotr Albatrou Pre**. 
Orb. B. I Uoofth Vnh-ent ar MbMmar? Cambridge: Cambridge University Pita 
and REU, M. f. (W«. The Anlhropk Principle and lbe Structure of the Phv«tjl 

World", Nature. 278; 6o5~u. 

Cole. K. C. (19*5). Sympathftic I'teruno/rv New York-- Bantum, aa*. 

Davus, P. C W. (ma). 7V MM ofGo± New York: T»ughxone;Siinyn & SchuMer. 

[ricicw, R- II- (1961)- "Dante"* Cxnmology and Viach's Principtr'. Nature 191: 440. 

Orr M. M It (i»o). Beyond tht % &**$. U W\k, ML: Open Court. 

Eujs.G.F K fi»j). 8&rt'hcBc&Mim&Cinmoto8yExpiiinttl, Uindnn: hoyan.'Bcm'vTdean. 

rURTLR, L B., anJ KswRiNa, S. W. ( 19*3). 'Wave Function of the Universe". Phyikat ffe.Sov A 

> :96o-75- 
mwUHC, S- W: (2001). The Univtrse m a WutshtB. Ne% Vbifc Banewn Pee**. 
Holder. R. Eaooa). God. lhr Multi\rrx and Bverthinp .Vbdrm Cosmology ant rfre Aryumew 
yhwt /teirn. Alderthot. Ashpaic. 

Isham, C (1999). 'Creation of the Universe as j Quantum Tunne3Iitig> Procca'. in ft. I, Ruiseil 

et aL (eds.). Our Knowledge of God and Nature: physxh Philosophy aid Thcvlcgy, Notre 

DajTie. Ind_- University of Notre Dame Pfevs 37^-408. 
Ffaks. F. (mu. The Myrtcrious Umvtnt. Cambridge; Cambridge University PrcM. 
Kauffman, S. A.- (i*wsl ^' Home in the Univrrte. Harmon dfwonh: PeneuiiL 
K: BH r s 13970). Tfte Srrujr^re ofSctentifii Rrrviutiom, aid edn. Chicago: Unhrrshy of 

Chutagp PlWfc 
ImuWt |. (19S9). L/nnvnej. London: R nut ledge. 
Uom, A- O (19M). EwrnaQy EaaSting Self- reproducing Chaotk Innatwnarv Uiwcne 1 , 

Physics letters B, t?$; ,^5-40o. 
Vi wroN, I ( 1.9S9-77'- ^e CflrrespOTrfencf v»/5-r fsaac rlWdft wl H. W. TurnbuJJ. I R Scott. 

A- Rupert rlaB, -ind U Tilling, iii. Canibridge: Cambridge Unnrrury Preaa. 
Penrosf, R. (3997}- TJwr ia/jt the Small ami the Human MM. Cambridge CambrM^e 

Unjversity Pros. 
iSwouN. L U99?). The life of the Counoi. London: Wridenfeld & Nicokon. 
Susskino, L faooj). The Cosmic Landseape: String Theory ami the Illusion of Intelligent Peiipi, 

Boston: Utile. Brown & Co. 

Tecmask. M (199S}. 'I* the Theor>- of Everything Merely the Ultimate Ensemble Tneorr?'. 

Atmab ofphystti, 270; 1-51. 
Wumiuk&. S. (B977)- The First Three Minutes. New Ynilc Bask Books, 
Werthhm , M, (1999). TJte Pearly G«r« u/C)*eni>Jfe- London: Virago. 
WjnrjLHL. I U977). 'Genes»iind Ohservwship' in R. Butts and I. Hintikk* (edi,). Fomtii- 

nonal Probfents in the Speevd Sciences, Dordrecht: Keidel, v 
Wilbuh, K. (aooi). Quantum Questions: Mysttcal HVtfri^f of i\k \S\Ms Oreotrtt Vhyvxim. 

Button: ShambhuU PuHlications. 







What me matrft deepest sea*? Why is there something rather than nothrn E ' The 
l?^ T ^^ aaT in modem <ultures !ook to (***** for a «w«5 to ihe* 

4 ,tTf "T U " r iUrr ° ,,ndS thC ° ,deS ' rf te mod «" nat ura j science^ 
2 4 M P^ rfMfa P«I Perspective, physics has come to command such 

fcmflar with ^ priiaiw f ^"1 1" n0 ' unwmmt >" *™ng time 

■ way (ha, go« beyond lb rcductTon?, , "' '° aWOUnI f °' ,his f «% j « 



FumfamaitBl physics has come to be tato-fc, „_ . 

different ways, depending on what kind of*. 1 • Kh « M,,ld V in « lew three 
Mohpcaltr interesting for rrfi«- 0u , rtf J:„ J* ,4gra,u * i - *>*« becomes 
thing that « both .rue and Unob.ain.b!^^," " *** **" " «■ ««™ »** 
process of the world. It can also becornV, ' ? ?"" 0U ' ,hc *»*««« and 
rak« its remarkable predict^ power .^eTl T" r "" eres,in B when one 
ways in which human rationality can be efTrrr f!™e "*»•&■« a&out the 
knowledge about .he world And if for wh., "™»««* «" produce refiable 

* issue of reductions mm^SS^JTZ "^ ' "^ * ,h 
epistemoJogicaJ relevance of physics to relieious ~rL- . ** onl0,0 W^ and 
a!ly tasting „ a rich ^J^, , *'^* ^» V « ««■ * «**** 
their original context and al| 0wc d IO A ,.?* wFl,cfl ' whcn extracted from 

range of concepts available to rehmuj refWtl! , ° J . " 0Wn ' ** n extEnd thc 
hnman life. S ° US rcflec,,Qn for ^^"g about the meamrlg of 

Each of these different mtides nf ™j:_,„ 
«,«» sorts of raw n^l^S™?* **? « P-"* 
transcendence but clearly the first tjo mode n f L re ^ «*«"« *« 

Wishing con^ance Lw«„ «£^SSJ *! ^ 0PPOr,Un ^ fW 
quest for understanding. A PP , &pri JZ Z, " ^ w, "-"«« « their ahawd 

teaiityv but the greatest potential for kJZ^^'1^ mmmt * t 
approach chat embr.ces nii three modes of engagement W * ^^ 

Tlie baitc goal of modern fundamental Dlmi« h, L 
description of the conso tlWnls and pT^ f tjt Dh ^ S "^ S thc °* C,i ^ 
ratable r^rirnentsusmg^n^,^^ ° ' phyS,Cl3 World on ** t»» «f 
As the sliest of th e modem S„,7fi r H^ ^ nUSS ' "^ W and «in»e. 

generate empiric ,I5£2w n " l,,,!,,U " C- W rhat " be ^ to 

. icw «j me la** ( physics counu them as re ativdv accurst* Ambri r, c 
toa " '^olog.c.l ^pectivv labdfed "critical realism", has «hc 

ff ** *"** r ™^™ »1C puint i^» .JiminiaJl niE irturnv « MAJ/ , * , 

interest of a number of neUgfall linkers because of the perception ihnl it provide 
room for religious reflection and theological [re description to exist aJongsKfc 
*»r«ific accounts. Beyond this mnJUting view, at the far end of the spectrum one 
find* the MtohBati al *§W that physical laws and flic Thrones of which they arc a p Jrr 
amount m nothing more than cakulationaJ devices, and should he understood to 
carry no oncological weight. ThU sfcw; which in fact is a Runty of views commonly 
associated with various Lihek suehns 'anti-rcali&nY. 'uislrumental^rn', and 'empiri- 
cism', has been adoplecf bj HMUC phifoMpberS of SCfeflCfl in order to avoid varioui 
rftcultKs that attend realist viev 

It is perhaps -worth noting even if the point has little hearing on philosophic] 
uutoi*. that the minimalist view is a relative rarity among working physicists^ who 
generaili take the theories they work with to be saving something true, however 
imperfectly, about the wurid. Clearly; one's view of the status of physical theories— 
however onetaflon this new 10 fit different theories— liesat the root of judgements 
about whether pbysks is interesting religiously. Rich and varkd conceptual possi. 
Mines can emerge from any of these WI0IU perspectives on the onlological Marus of 
physical laws, though tlie minimalist view would appear to work most stronfih 
acarnsi etiological and cpistemologictl connections. 

The historical roots of modem phpks lie in the musings of the ancient 
Gnxks, most notably those of Pvthagor*s and his followers. 7T.e writings of ihr 
Pythagorean tradition. M well as those of Amtotlc and other Greek philosophers. 
t reintroduced to lat c medieval Europe by Mamie scholars such as Ibji Sina 
( AncenndJ. whogavethe West not juit renewed access 10 its own Greek heritage hit 
also theituiphcs of a genuine!)- Islamic scientific and mathematical tradition L W 
XX* I -n« wntxnp and traditions profoundly shaped the subsequent, 
of European thought, prerip.tatkg many of the intellectual shifts that accompanied 

^tSTT^' ? T™ ™»™™ ^ *« Enlightenment. Because 
^^toHaiiw^ toe relevance of modern to rdfc^ 

S^ ^T^f ** T mtC ° f ^^ *" B ■"*« "^rstandmg mlt 
aewrj emerging pwidig m f Newtonian physic? posed serious diallnJ^m 
vanous a*pecu of the nxet^ medieval theoio^l worS-vL * 

_ - ■ mtwwq Atrp aw roHHi 1W 

.L HE J ISE OF Newtonian Physics 

Mechanistic Determinism 

Fjrly European scicniiit^jncludmg^fn^i.,,.. r 

nominally Chrfctia*, .hough mam B hcld ^f h r, tLU rt NeW '° n - """■ ta " 

tbdr respective church,,. Sorn Jhke ,he7 r L W " h "* oflkia < ^aarin*, of 
understood themselves lo be 'Ultnkm* r^H »k f s,ronomer r°>«nn« Kepler. 
work ^ , land of hvmn ,o the- ^ Zr^. Dgh " ?* Him ind ^ «** 

d^ctemmx sd«cc and the church „ two d^n^ L m rdigi ° n " 

^ churcl. au , horiti « J S^fTSctSSS "" r h d t Ce 
one goes »o heaven, noi how heaven goes' („~ .J, TM , , * " S h ° W 

sconce from religion inhiallv <^J^™^^ ^ ^ ** ********* 
ment of the m ediev a J vie* of «he world as I rich 1 ^"f l ° n f" ,e « w of *" c r ^«" 
«o divine i„ !tfMC(l0n with , VJCW 7l7J^T^r' m, ^ , ^' li,yopea cfosed ,„ any wJ ]n ten^ ^ aUt0n0mOUi ^"'^ 

Although the Roman Catholic Omreh is still rr. mm ^ i 
lodged theological objections , M1 W ,h, J ^™My P<rce,ved lo have 

interpret the taufl fi ndin g S rflefclBe for ^ ^ - in|wacUo _ „:.. .J 

draw^ihe other „„o a w,der ,vorid. , Wr .d ,n which bod. can flourislf .RusseU « 

wiA T£™■ i ^"T il l h3, 9^^^ «««pj«d U,e Emb. ^ hununin 
witr. ,., f rorn lts pnnfcged posi , joil at fc KMre of ^ ^^^ fosmo ^ ^ 

1 Hie negative 
Merchant (1990). 

social and lntdlectu.1l impact o( this shin has heen tharoughly aaaryied in 

tfiD K|RK WlfiTtn-MCNItU 

process of dethronement was completed, in fact, only in the twentieth century, 
when modern scientific cosmology finally discarded ihc notion of ft universal 
itrc'.) There is no denying that many fell the decentring effect of Copernicanitm 
to pose a serious challenge *o theology. In retrospect, however, the deeper 
religions significance of the move from gcoccnirwm 10 heliocentrism was thai n 
marked the first step toward a scientifically comprehensive and detcrtriinistit account 

i physical processes. Cartoons stiU appear noting the nsk of gazing through 
j telescope to one'* sense of self-importance, but reconceptuiukirtg the fastness 
of the universe in terms of religious awe arid wonder has no! proved as difficult as 
bang the challenge of physical determinism. The lasting legacy of Copcrnicanism is 
hcM understood in terms of the role it played in giving birth to a dciermsnistk world- 
view within which the notion* of human and divine agency have become enduring 

The determinism of early modem physics solidified around the grand synthesis 
eflccred bv Isaac Newton, which united celestial and terrestrial morion into a single 
conceptual scheme. The plausibility of the heavens as the abode of spiritual beings 
stcadilv diminished as the celestial realm came increasingly to be seen and under 
stood as another part of the physical world which was scientifically (i_e. mathemat- 
ically; anajysable in terms of the orderly and deterministic motion of its parts. In this 
key respect, Newton's unifying atcounl of physical motion, his 'mechanics', shaped 
the generally deterministic of early modem science. The phrase 'Newtonian 
determinism* has since become synonymous with a lack of any genuine novelty or 
openness in natural processes. As the French mathematician Pierre-Simon de Laplace 
famously staled, 'Given for one instant an intelligence which could comprehend all 
the forces by which nature is animated and the respective situation of the beings who 
compose it . . . for |this intelligence) nothing would be uncertain and the future, as 
the past, would be present to ils eves' (de Lapljce 1917: 4), The real and lasting force of 

thiscoir: rncnt, af course, » not thai * »upcr intelligence in a deterministic world could 
know everything that would ever happen, but diat such an intelligence would have 
nothing to do— thus rendering superfluous the notion of a divine overseer of the 
world's processes, 

Newtonian physics also rdied crucially upon the strategy of rcductionism — i.e. 
explaining an object 's behaviour solely in terms of the behaviour of its parts — and 
thus elevated this strategy to the status of a central methodological principle of 
modern science. Embracing both the determinism and the reductionism of Newton- 
ian sdencc. early modern scientists quickly distanced themselves from modes of 
explanations that invoked purpose, or refos. Increasingly they sought explanations 
couched exclusively in terms of cfficicnl li.e. mechanical) causes, ft was physics' 
characlerization of the world within this, new framework of mechanistic reductionism 
that led to a significant theological crisis in Christian thought, for if the stale of I he 
natural world was completely determined by the relevant physical laws acting upun 
the prior configuration of its various parts in each preceding moment, could one still 
cortcerve of human beings as thinking and acting in the world wiih genuine freedom? 
And, equally important, could one still affirm Cod's ongoing activity in such a world' 

"«,.-» rtPfU NMK.ION 


Human and Divine Freedom 

Jn respond » Ulc »**»«*" delerminism and reduction^ of Newtonian prmk*, 
f&m philosophers and theologian* of the Enlightenment attempted to insulate 
hurrran freedom from natural scientific considerations. One of ihc first in do so mm 
French philosopher Rene Descartes, who divided reality into two realms: the 
material world of mechanical necessity (/* otfrasa) and ihc world of mental tree 
willing ires cogitate). The German philosopher Jmmanuel Kani subsequently ad- 
vanced a more nuanced form of dualism in which he distinguished between the 
ansal dcterraintstic framework we impose upon the world through our cognitive 
jpparatusm the very act of perceiving it (what he called the phmmntmA realm 1 and 
the world as il exists in and for itself (what he called the naumenat realm). pn»i„ 
human freedom as a part of the latter. Following Descanes and Kant, liberal 
Prutesunt theologians increasingly ignored the physical dimension of human exist- 
ence and retreated instead to the 'inner' world of the human spine. One of the first to 
move in this direction was the German theologian Fmedrich Sehleiermacher, who 
moved religion out of the realm of knowledge and rcsituated it within the reoJrn of 
feeling. By the end of ihc nineteenth century, another German Protestant. Albrecht 
Rjtschl, could write; 'theology has 10 do, not with natural object*, but with states and 
movements of mans spiritual life* (toos: 20). tn their interactions with early modem 
physics, these Chrisiian thinkers perceived the twin problematic of determinism and 
reductionism, and responded by trying to protect human freedom. However, their 
mans of achkving this goaE— namely, by isolating the theological account of human 
exiilence itid freedom from any relevant physical considerations — proved untenable 
in the long run What has become clear in recent decades is the importance of the 
issue of physical embodiment to a full understanding of the hum-in person as a 
religious and scientific being (Coakley 2000; Lawrence arid Shapin iO^S). 

(fewtonJao physics also posed q serious challenge to inherited notions of GouTs 
presence and activity in the world In response to this framework. Christian thinkers 
developed three strikingly different views of whether and how God acts at particular 
tunes and places in the world I henceforth 'special divine action' I. Some were willing to 
countenance the idea thai the universe lacks the causal powers necessary for bringing 
about everything that occurs wiihin it. Newton, for example, cook! sec no way of 
securing the stability of planetary orbits, and thus claimed that it must result from 
occasional divine adjustment. It seemed reasonable to him and others to locate God's 
activity in this unexplained, and presumably unexplainable, aspect of the universe. 
Laplace later demonstrated the self- stabi firing tendency of planetary systems* thereby 
esposing the chief limitation of what has come to be colled the "God of the gaps* 
approach: because il relies on ignorance, religion must retreat whenever science nfls any 
explanatory gap. Others advocated a stronger version of the general view that the 
universe lacks the causal powers necessary for bringing about everything thai occurs 
within it. Commonly called intervaitiimism, this view argues thai God. as transcendent 
C rejtor of the world and i ts lass s, si m ply breaks 1 he laws of nature whenever God wishes 
lo alter the course of the world by acting in a specific event. Ciod simply creates >pacc in 

162 K!*»: wimih m« 

on otheiw* ft li a ii linfil 11 ■ GBUSil structure to nuke 'room' fof particular divine acu. 

*Ims view presumes, in opposition 10 Newton s early view, that nature* causal powers 

arc sufrkicnt in account for regular physical processes, but ihai God also docs thing* in 

the world whkh it couM not do on its own (e.g. miradw). Eighteenih-century deists 

rejected this approach on the grounds that the more honest and reasonable response to 

Nn.i i detenranism was to abandon the notion of special divine action altogether 

in favour of a God who bring* the world into existence and then refrains from any 

further interaction with it Onrun theologian Wblfhari fannenberg (1993) has also 

pressed the point dm Newton'* view/ of incrtial or fdfcuittimng motion helped 1 

discredit the idea of the world depending upon divine conservation for its continued 

erisience. Throughout the nineteenth wind twentieth centuries and into the present, 

liberal Proiesfcmts have continued to maintain the idea that God is present to creation, 

but only insofar as creation is itself God's one great Act. which amounts to relinquishing 

the notion of 'objectiveo 'special disine act*, including miracles. On the liberal account, 

one might rvrrrnv God as acting specially in seme particular physical event, but this 

would be merely t nunc? of one'* own subjective perception (for a notable coniem- 

poflO' proponent of this siew, see Wiles 1086). 

These three xnews of special divine action developed by Christian thinkers in 
response to the rise of Newtonian physics — interventionism, deism, and liberal- 
ism — differ sharply tram one another, yet they brook a common theological con- 
straint Each accepts the idea that a God who is understood to alter the course of 
events in the world must be treated on a par with any other object or causal process in 
the world Thus each accepts the claim that in a Newtonian world of strict deter- 
minism there is no 'room' in the physical world for God to act in individual events — 
a viewpoint I call "Lhoophyskai mcompau'hilism'. On the basis of this construal of the 
relationship between special divine action and natural processes, deists and liberals 
have judged that God does net act specially at particular moments in history (even 

though liherols maintain the ongoing; presence of God in creation through the idea of 

God enacting history itself). Interventionists, on the other hand, have clung to the 
notion 0/ special divine action by understanding God to override or 'break' the 
physical world's Laws in a special divine act. The Ear-reaching consequences of this 
common willingness to accept a "no-iiiHcrent-room-for-God* constraint coming 
from Newtonian physics cannot be overemphasized. Prior to the rise of Newtonian 
phvsaesv Christian thinker* simply did not perceive the logical difficulty of asserting 
simultaneously that God acts at specific times arid places and that the world retains 
it* own causal efficacy and integrity. However, the supposed compatibility of these 
two idea* dissolved in the (ace of Newtonian determinism, which left in its waJkc 
human and divine agency as newly felt problems. 

lumping ahead for a moment CO the twentieth century, it is important to note that 
recent developments in physics have allowed for ne*v t but stuJ theologically incompatibi- 
list approaches to the problem of special divine action, now commonly referred to as 
'non -interventionist strategics, Those who adopt these strategies accept, on the one 
hand, the liberal theological view that God must be understood to act with and not 
against the grain of natural processes— after all. it is argued. God is the one who has 

; V ' ,WH "'» PHysiCS ANO BHMC.ION 


twtthed these processes in the first place. They agree, on the other hand, with the 
intemntionitf view that God can and ought to he thought of as acting, objectively ai 
particular times and places m the world. Non-interventionism Attempts to straddk the 
traditional divide between these two views by locating within nature room for *pecial 
dninenction-which. recall. isa net ^ryenndiuon forobiectivvryspeci.ildivrneaction 
Wthin the perspective of theophysical irKompatibilurrn--varinu5ry within its infinite 
pcrtriuvrry ^ initial conditions (a in chaos theory, see PbJklnghome 1991 >, the under- 
determined character of natural processes (a la quantum theory: see Russell rl ai. am] 
and higher lewis of novelty and freedom (a la complexity and emergence theory; »* 
Feaeoekc 1993; Chytoai 2004), to name the thrcemost wideVdiscussedstratcgies. In these 
different types ofph>^ica] prcKesseiK so the non interventionist argument goes, God can 
be understood to act objectively in the world without needing to vfabfc its Saws. 

In tight of this recent development, what is presently needed is a more thorough 
analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the widely shared assumption of thco- 
physsea! mcornpatihilisrm i.e. that objectively special divine action is incompatible 
with physical determinism. The implications of this theological assumption have not 
yet been adequately scrutinized in the Contemporary religion-and -science literature. 
This need stems in the lirst instance not from the possibility that the world might 
turn out, after all, to be a truly closed causal mechanism, but from the observation 
thai accepting natural science as a constraint on theological accounts of God's 
activity in the world presupposes a competitive, or % Jrero-sum , t view of the relation- 
ship between divine and treat urety activity. The assumption of theophysical incom- 
patabillsm appears to lead to a kind of 'domestication of transcendence" to borrow a 
phrase from American Reformed theologian William Placher I1996). Might tl be 
possible to recover a view of divine activity as the source and guarantor of the 
integrity of natural processes and crcaturcly freedom— as one rinds it. up in pre- 
modern thinkers such as Aquinas, Luther, and Calvin— without giving up the task of 
serious religious engagement with the natural sciences? 

The rise of non-interventionist accounts of special divine action reveals the sig- 
nificant and lasting impact of Newtonian determinism on Christian thought, whkh 
continues into the present era despite the fact that numerous developments over the 
past century have seriously called into question the deterministic and reductionsstic 
assumptions of the classical Newtonian world-view. These new developments have 
themselves led to a wide variety of new perspectives on the religious significance of 
physics, to which I now turn. 

The Twentieth-Century Revolution 

As the nineteenth century drew to a close, many theoretical physicist* tudged that 
their labours were nearly concluded. Newtonian mechanics had provided a compre- 
hensive framework for understanding the motion ai physical masses under the 

164 Kill WF.&Tia-MCNF.ilt 

influent? of mechanical forces: dectro magnetic theory had provided a tails for 
understanding the interaction of and relation between electric and magnetic phe- 
nomena! and theniwdynamic? had provided a mechanical account of the phenom- 
ena of ternocrature and beat. The Victorian piffrfc&t Lord Kdvin (William 
Thompson), who was inMnuncnul in the development of thermodynamic*, saw 
nothing but a fen' inconsequential clouds obscuring the 'beauty and clearness' of 
physics' horiran. In truth. though, behind these clouds lay deep conceptual and 
theoretic,*] ptuzJe* regarding the nature of light and the bchavfoui of atoms, i on- 
trary to Kelvins cqwctations. attempts CO *oIvt these puuJes ushered in the greatest 
revoluriiin in the Western conception of the physical world since the lime of Galileo 
.ind Newton. This exciting era damned in the form of rwt> new theoretical frame 
works, both or which were quickly understood to be deeply at odds with various 
aspects of die Newtonian worid-vicw; the so-called nr/i7rrvi>y theory developed single 
handedry by tht physicist Albert Einstein during the first two decades of the 

twentieth century and the •©-called gfttftfflfltl theory of atomic behaviour developed 
by a boil of scientists in the 1930s. The new views of space, time, and causation 
represented by these frameworks- hare since led to & remarkable amount of rethinking 
of the nature of transcendence, the work!, and humanity from a variety of religious 
perspectives and tradition s ' 

Special and General Theories of Relativity 

Whereas Newton had conceived of space as God's means of experiencing the world 
and of time as- having infinite extension as well as a uniformly moving present, 
Einstein in his 1905 *PWki/ theory of relativity (SRI construed space and time 05 a 
single reality, spaarimt. and postulated that the speed of light, not space or time, is 
the true 'absolute' of the universe (foi EiiiMcin's own views on religion, sec Jammer 
1999). Shorn of their own absoluteness, measurements of the extension and duration 
of any given object or event will vary according to SR. when measured by different 
observers in relative motion. SR thus appears to point to the demise of a universal 
'now. and has brought about a reassessment of traditional views of the relationship 
between divine eternity and Cfcaturely temporality (Russell et at 19^8; Peters 19S9; 
Matt io96; Craig 3001). Additionally. we characterisation of lime as a fourth dimen- 
sion has led some to interpret SR as hostile to the very klca of temporal flow. 
According to proponents of the block universe interpretation, thespacaime manifold 
exists tiroele&s!) as a rour-dimensiona] whole. This interpretation of SR calls into 
question the reality of human freedom and our phenomcnologieal sense of temporal 
becoming; though it is difficult to know how to take this question seriously in the 

■ General reflection* on the rdignas implication* of the u-aDed new physio include 
Mime* #* „*»,; HJpcvnonJ tt mn Heller tt&y, Wbnhing (x^y. Tool* (Wot); ftarr 
(aoo>);Wabce{»03J;H^>c>4>n fan... 


ANt) MELIGjoS ]fr> 

man experience (Fiigg 1995; 

faceof the seemingly essentially temporal character of hu 

*» "• ^^u? 1 " l * "* an iWtacc *■«* ** Vwmer^STf 
human experience vhauld function as a guide to the interpretation of physical 
theories 5 

After the publication of SR, Einstein turned to the probk-m of developing a theory 
r>l gravity bwed on his rclativistic account of Spacetime In his 1915 &tnrral rflwry of 
tttotnity CGR> he treated gravity geometrically as the curvature of spaccttec rather 
than classically (i.e. in Newtonian terms) as a force acting on masses. According to 
one common formulation, in GR matter tell* spacctime how to curve, and curved 
spacerime tells matter how to move (Taylor and Wheekr 199a: 235). Within this 
broad conceptual framework physicists have devebped various theories of the origin, 
mucture.and development of the universe under the umbrella of ■modern scientific 
cosmology'. Extrapolating backwards from the present expansion of the universe, 
they -soon arrived at the notion of a primordial explosion, or 'big bang; which led 
pope Pius XII in 1951 to suggest that physics hid finally confirmed the Christian 
doctrine of aedtion (wi). Much subsequent debate has ensued as to whether the 
inference to a divine creative act is quite as straightforward as the Pope claimed and 
whether the concept of motion actually entails an absolute beginning to creation or 
only the more general notion of creation's ontologicaJ dependence (seee-g, Jaki 1989; 
Peters 19s* Drees 1990; Van Till a aL i 99 o; Russell el aL 1*9$; Sobosan 1999). Recent 
scientific (though highly speculative) proposals such as eternal inflation and 'quan- 
tum cosmology' make it possible to perceive the beginning of this universe as one 
event in a longer {even infinite) series of similar events. Consequently, the big bang 
now looks less and less like an absolute beginning. Is the lesson here that religion 
should interact with modern physics only at points of long-standing consensus 
among physicists, since physics changes quickly around the edges? While it must 
be said that the Popes pronouncement was hasty, it is also possible to see in this 
example funis Of a kind of religious engagement with physics, and with science 
generaHy, that is more fluid and open to change, not fust on the scientific side but 
an the religious side as well. Christian theologians, at least, have hved too long under 
the aiusion that their pronouncements must transcend time and space (not ro 
mention culture and gender) to be authentic and valuable. 

Contemporary scientific cosmology has also reinvigorated the design argument for 
Gods existence. Earlier forms of this argument focused on the intricate order of 
natural processes manifested in the complex structure of living organisms but 
BatWs powerful case against biological design — that it was merely apparent'— 
successfully shifted the debate to the realm of physics in terms of the so<alUd 
Anthropic Principle (though the debate has shifted back toward the realm of biology 
recently with the emergence of the Intelligent Design Movement). The Anthropic 
Principle is based upon the observation that the structure and processes of the 
universe appear finely tuned for the requirements of our own existence; changc 
'-nyoneol the basic parameters governing the physical interactions of the universe 
ever so slightly, and something about its structure or contents suddenlv becomes 
inhospitable to life as we know it. In its strongest form, this principle has been used 


KIMt. »VM.M 

to support an inference to a divine luncr*. In it* weaker form. however, our existence 
can be seen merely as the result of a kind of cosmic Darwinian (a loose analogy ai 
besti in which there needn't he any surprise ar rinding ourselves in n pinitnlar 
domain of the universe— on using more recent terminology, in a branch of j 
*mtillivtra' (R«s zaoj)— whose structures *nd processes are hospitable to life like 
ours I for a review of the debate, see Bimtw and TipJcr 1985: UAic W$9\ MUfphy and 
Ellis 199ft)- This weaker version avoids the theistic conclusion, but much disagree- 
ment remain* as to whether or not it amounts to ,\ socnlffic- explanation. The debate 
over the significance of fine-tuning provides an interesting example of how what is 
judged to count as 'scientific' shifts with theoretical and technological advances. 
Whereas the jn icnt M» initially taken to tie quite compelling to a good 

number of rchgioiisty minded physicists (or. alternatively, a serious problem for 
physics to solve is a way or .1 voiding religious implications), this number has fallen as 
the idea of a multiverse has moved slowly away from the realm of science fiction and 
closer to the mainstream of cosrnologtcal theory, 

The design argument runs into further dualities with the far future of the 
universe, which appears doomed either to endless expansion and cooling, the so- 
called froze scenario, or to eventual recoUapse and implosion, the so-called fry 
scenario. Neither offers much comfort for those wanting to maintain a more robust 
and tradiuonal notion of future fulfilment iPolkmghorne and Welkcx 2000; Ellis 
iooi |. And while it is at least conceivable that life, suitably transformed, could extend 
itself fax into the future, this kind of pseudo- immortalization similarly offers little 
hope for a more traditional eschatological vision (Dyson 198&; Tipler 1094), Much 
more likely, humanity and all life on earth will be extinguished in 2 solar super- 
nova — if, that is, we manage to survive the end of fossil fuels — long before the 'end' 
of our universe arrives. The religious implications of this piece of the modern 
cosmolpgkaJ story have only Ivrgun to be addressed. 

Quantum Theory 

As Einstein was rewriting Ncwtons account of space and time and reshaping our 
understanding of the universe at the largest scales, another similarly (arguably, even 
mope) radical revolution was taking place at the way smallest scales. In 1900 the 
German physicist Max Planck turned his attention to one of the mo« puzzling of the 
few remaining "clouds' on the horizon, a problem having to do with the emission and 
absorption <tf dcoronugnetic radiation by atoms. He solved this problem by intro- 
ducing the curious notion that energy can come only in discrete units, subsequently 
dubbed quanta, rather than in continuously varying amounts, as classical physicists 
had supposed. This and other breakthroughs led other European physicists such as 
Bohr. Werner Hciscnbcrg. Erwin Schrodinger. and Paul Dime to develop 
quantum theory, which has since achieved spectacular successes in its ability to 
describe the behaviour of atoms and their components. These successes, however. 
have come with a pnee: many of physicists' classical and common-sense intuitions 

Kaw " l » PHYSIC* AND RrLFGTON tf; 

regarding bide concepts such as causality, determinism, separability, and the wave- 
ptrtick distinction have been called into question done the way. At the quantum 
fefri object* appear 10 change their state over time without any sufficient mechanical 
cause, evolving in a purely random manner (' mdcterininism' I; they appear to remain 
connected to one another even when separated across large distances (entangle 
jnent'); Jn d they appear to behave like waves in some letting! and particles in others 

.mplcmentanty')— to name only a few of the more bizarre consequences of this 
ocw theoretical framework. 

Quantum theory has attracted the attention of rcngmus thinkers from a wide 
variety of traditions (Capra 1075; At-Tarjumana 1980; O'Murchu 1907; Thuan 2001). 
Some have explored ways of extending Bohr's notion of 'complementarity— the idea 
dial mutually incompatible descriptions like ■wave' and 'particle are necessary for a 
complete description of a single quantum phenomenon— to issues such as the 
relationship between religion and science and the character of religious language 
(sec e.g. Barbour 1974; Losee 19OZ). Others, whom i mentioned above when discuss- 
ing recent developments in the concept of special divine action, haw appealed to 
quantum tndctcrmimsm (Russell etal zooi). Still others have interpreted quantum 
entanglement to be a him that the universe is a place of subtle interconnection in the 
midst of bewildering diversity (O'Murchu 1997; Jungerman 2000; Sharpc 2000). 
Whether these connections wall take hold and be seen as a valuable addition to 
contemporary religious reflection has a great deal to do with the degree to which 
quantum concepts ever migrate, or rail to do so, into contemporary cultures. Despite 
the tact that numerous contemporary technologies operate on principles that make 
sense only within the framework of quantum theory*, the atomic and subatomic 
scales al which these principles apply effectively hides them from general cultural 

Chaos Theory 

The remarkable subtlety of physical processes is additionally highlighted by chaos 
theory, a third significant theoretical development within twentieth-century 
physics. Strictly speaking, chaos theory resides within the deterministic framework 
of Newtonian physics. Even so, it suggests that certain processes thought to be 
describable in principle by deterministic laws\ such as weather patterns, can 
develop in unpredictable and seemingly random ways. But because chaos theory is 
deterministic, it does not offer any straightforward opportunities for a non- 
interventionist (and theophysically incompattbilisU account of divine action. Some 
have argued that despite its presently deterministic form the theory points to a 
genuine openness in natures processes; this openness, they argue, will eventually 
be reflecTed in some future version of the theory (Polkinghome 1991; and see the 
subsequent debate in Russell er al. 1995). If such a shift were to occur, chaos theory 
would provide yet another powerful c * ample of physics moving beyond its Newtonian 


lb l* p. nnMr«-""-^ 

String Theory 

One final piece of conicmporaryph^ics, string theory', deserves mcnnon. though it 
hes on the spccidaiivx edge of the discipline — so near the edge, in nets that physicists 
fight amongst themselves as to whether it ought to be counted as legitimate physics. 
%'arious diflkulrirs with the fclativistic and quantum frameworks — especially ihc 
challenge of combining the two — have led to the search lor a single overarching 
framework that could incorporate both. String theory, the most widely publicized 
candidate among a number of competing approach**, rreaTs the fundamental units 
■if the physical world not as mathematical points but as vibrating 'loops* or 'strings.'. 
These strings vibrate, not only in the familiar \ + i dimensions of space smd time, but 
in additional dimensions as well. These extra dimensions. Father than being 
extended, arc rolled up' .11 the >ulutomic scale such that we do not experience 
them.* At present neither string theory nor its competitors can be tested empirically, 
lis speculative nature render* it of lit tic etiological interest from a religious perspec- 
tive at this point, but it offefl a rich array of complex concepts that might prove to be 
interesting religiously, such as the notion that reality has dimensions beyond those 
present to our immediate experience. 


Phvsicists arc currently struggling to unite the various theoretical developments 
surveyed here under one conceptual framework. At present, relativity theory, quan- 
tum theory, and chaos theory each provide quite distinct lenses onto the world's 
physical structures and processes. Although both relativity theory and chaos theory 
transform various aspects of Newton's account of space, time, and causation, they 
also essentially sustain the determinism of the classical framework. Quantum theory, 
on the other hand, at least according to the most widely held interpretation. 
dramatically overturns this tradition. Whether string theory or some other new 
framework will be rich enough to unite these multiple perspectives on the nature 
of the physical processes is anyone's guess. Physics is at present a scientific discipline 
leeplyat odds with itself, presenting us with remarkable but fractured insights mto 
the physical world that forms the substrate of human existence. The struggle to 
resolve these tensions will no doubt lead to further opponumrie* for conversation 
with religious perspectives. The human quest for meaning and transcendence cannot 

aLI^ I""?' *?* "^ U Ehc diffrrcnc< baween *** ■ inking itraw hem i 
Z, J^ ^ a8 - 1"*** <™'*rneniicma] line and seeing d up close » | ,*.,. 
dimeiiMonal «jnace wnh one of its two dunrroiom rolled up on itself 


* reduced 10 Physical e^Ur*tion. bui H cut be enrwhed and enliven^ by .he 
n-markabie account ol the world s natural processes obtained through phys, 

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«3$ Pre*?. 

H A P T E R 11 






M first blush, these seem to be completely disparate ways of thinking: the study 
of the molecular structure and function of the genetic information in the cell, 
on the one hand, and a systematized set of beliefs about God, the transcendent, 
and our relationship to the supernatural, on the other hand. However, tike all 
human activities, both of these haw areas of congruence and, as would be 
expected, areas of controversy. In this chapter, J will introduce you to the back- 
ground* assumption*, and kinds of descriptive models used In molecular biology. My 
intention is to provide a way to navigate through the jargon-spiked waters of this 
field so that you can see how and where these place* of overlap between this field and 
religion exist, as well as where the controversies lie. In doing this, I will not 50 much 
focus on defining religion or theology,, but will assume that the reader has a 
reasonably sophisticated understanding of what these terms mean. In addition, 
since my own religious path is that of Roman Catholicism, some of my theological 
comments may be flavoured by that particular perspective. For this I ask tout 

■ —wwm anv REUNION 17} 

A Brief History of Molecular Bio 


When Ourlcs Darwm proposed hi, model of descent with modification as 3 
narorahsne explanation for how the amazing variation in the living world arose he 
I d not haw * dear idea of how variation is actually inherited. Hie P revamn R notion 
fo the mid to late nineteenth century was that inheritance involved some kind of 
Meadii* °f characteristics from two parents into offspring. It was the work of an 
Augustinian monk. Imng in Brim. Austria. tha! wa* to change this notion and 
provide us wuh our current understanding of genetics. Gregor Mendel's work was 
however, ahead of his times, and while Ifcrwin's book wa> widely read immediately 
upon its publication. Mendel's papers were ignored for nearly fifty years 

Mcndd defined the particulate nature of inhcritance^rhat is, characteristics are 
ptSSCd trom parent to offspring in units that persist and are not diluted bv blending, 
m this way. traits that might appear in on? generation may later reappear, even 
ihough intervening generations did not display Jhcm. Mendel did not com the word 
gene' for these traits, but he derived the laws of genetics by which w C still understand 
the behaviour ol these units of inheritance. 

By the beginning of the twentieth century, Mendel's work had been rediscovered 
by DeVries and others, and the science of genetics was bora In the spirit of the 
reductionist methodology of modern science, it became the goal to determine iust 
what structure in the ee« might be identified with the gene. The choices were 
becoming clarified. Genes were physically associated with structures in the cell called 
chromosomes. Chromosomes consist of large molecuics—sc-called maeromol- 
ecoies— and these were the prime suspects for what might be the gene. Two of 
these were receiving particular attention: proteins, long linear chains of amino 
acids; and nucleic acids, linear molecule* consisting of sugar, phosphate*, and 
nitrogen-containing, ring-shaped structures called purines and pyrimidincs. 

Whatever the chemical nature of the gene might be, it seemed to physicists like 
Irwin Schweninger that genes must obey different physical principles. In a short book 
called What Is Life? (1944), Schrodingcr, one of the founders of quantum theory, 
proposed that genes must indeed be unique, since they seem to resist the normal 
physical prepresses that lead to dissipation. Genes survive apparently intact over 
generations. Schrodingcr suggested that the study of genes might lead to the disc**- 
ery of new laws of physics. 

TTiis challenge intrigued one young physicist in Germany. Max DetbrucL He 
determined to pursue this idea, and launched himself away from both physics and 
^decaying pre-Sccond World War German Reich to follow Schrodingcr scall in the 
United States. Being a physicist, he reasoned that what was needed was a simple 
system to study, one in which all of the variables could be controlled and which had 
only a few easily managed features. He settled on using the bacteriophage or, M il is 
familiarly known, the phage (the word rhymes with 'cage'), viruses that infect 
bacteria] cells, lie was the founding father of what has come to be called the Phage 

roup, working during tin auidcnucyeaTat rhc California Institute oi Technology in 
Pasadena. California, and migrating aoss-coumry for the summer to rhc Cold 
Spring Harbor laboratories on Long Island, New York (Cairni cT tiL |»a). 

The Phage Group, under the leadership of Dclbrtick. attracted a wide variety of 
trfrnfiBT, including Salvador Luna, a physician, and Leo Szilard, a physicist who had 
left the Manhattan Project in protest over the continued development of the bomb 
Etc the rail of Germany. The group had a large number of young soenrisLs— 
chemist*, geneticists, virologists, physicians., and others who were attracted to this 
new way of searching for the {*cnc. These men and a few women were, an fact, the first 
molecular biologists. 

At the heart of The new discipline was the focus on the physical and chemical 
nature of the gene. It had become dear, through Che work of Oswald Avery and his 
COjfeejpta M Rockefeller University, thai DNA was the likely candidate nucramol- 
ccuic for the gene. Two member* of the Phage Group — Alfred Hershey and Martha 
Chase — finally demonstrated this in an elegant experiment, using a Waring blender 
and the nruscs that had became one of the central organisms of study for the new 

Now that the object of their inquiry had been identified, these new biological 
pioneers set out in earnest. In relatively rapid order a model for DNA was 
proposed (Watson and Crick), a method worked our for how DNA could he 
reproduced and genes passed from generation to generation (Meselson, Stahl, 
Romberg, and others}, and, finally, the genetic code broken to reveal how the 
information that resides in DNA comes to be unfolded into the myriad of structures 
that nuke up a cell (Crick* Nirenbcrg, Khorana. and others). This was the golden age 
o( molecular biology, and hardly a week passed during the decade of the 1950s and 
1960s when a new window into the molecular world of the cell wasn't opened. 



m Wimtdiing paradigm that subsumes the enrire field of hMogy to the present. The 
.called nco-Darw.nwn synthesis now model* «1 of life on the following principle.; 

t Gen,* arc ^formation in the form of the linear array of bases that make up the 
DNA molecules of chromosomes. 

The irate of an organism (the pheootyj*) are the direct expression of the 
information lound in the genes (the penotype). 

rations in traits are the result of subtle differences in this information (changes 
m n.iiogen-containmg basepairsof theDNA: namely, adenine, cytosine. thymine 
4 nd guanine}. 

4. Changes in genes arc mutational events that occur in a random' way. The word 
random' is used, but by- this we really mean 'unpredictable 

5. A population of entities will have variations in traits ihat are the result of these 
mutational events (a process called genetic drift 1. 

& The force of natural section operates on ihis pool of genetic variant*, allowing 
those with greater reproductive fitness to be represented in succeeding generauons. 

The new discipline of molecular biology quickly became the vanguard of neo- 
Darwinian thought. After all. this was where the details of how genetic variation takes 
ptefe and how the information in the DMA h ojrj match/ expressed a* traits would be 
learned. The golden age became nothing less than a quest to understand the entire 
living world in terms of the informational molecules themselves. As Francis Gticfc 
wrote m this oft-quoted passage: 'The ultimate aim of the modern movement in 

fogy is in feci to explain all biology in terms of physics and chemistry.. , Even- 
tually one may hope to have the whole of biology explained in terms of the level 
below it, and so on right down to the atomic level' (Crick 1966). 

The Neo-Darwinian Synthesis 

Neo-Darwinism and Religion 

When Darwin offered his evolutionary model to the world in lS59> objections did not 
only arise from the rdlgtous community. Members of the scientific community were 
also oot completely ready to accept this idea, given thai there was no mechanism for 
inheritance that fit descent with modtfication. In fact, some objectors pointed out 
that ifbicnding inheritance, the prevailing model were in fact true, there would lie 
no expectation that advantageous traits would survive over generations so that 
sdecrion could work. 

With the rediscovery of Mendel \ work ar the start of the twentieth century. Lhis 
problem was, solved. By teas. Julian Huxley, grandson of Darwin's defender Thomas 
Huxley, could tout what he called the modern synthesis 1 , in which the Darwinian 
nodd was merged with Mendclian genetics and ideas about populations to produce 

Itis certainly true that the initial reactions 10 Darwin's model of the origin of species 
had much co do with the philosophical implications, as opposed to the science itself. 
The strain of reductionist epiatemology and ontology that had overtaken the modern 
seicnti fie enterprise was essentially complete by the middle of the nineteenth century. 
It is not surprising, therefore, that twentieth-century scientists had inherited this 
same approach. While not every biologist could be called an agnostic or an atheist, u 
is true that some of the more important interpreters of the new biology, as it was 
corning to be called, subscribed to the materialist agenda, expressed in the quote 
bora Crick. Cham? ant! Necessity written by the French Nobel laureate Jacques 
Monod (1971), became an influential book, championing the idea that the universe 
ls, indeed, simply the product of a random (read 'unpredictable*) sec of events, ot 
which wc arc just a lucky outcome. 

This is not. in and of itself, a religion* CH even an anti-religious view, jlthruigh the 
secular hununian that pervades ibe hook amid certainly he called such. However, a 
belief in the ultimate power o: science in general, and molecular biology in particular, 
to explain everything about life is certainly an assumption in these works. Even f or 
scientists who MWrt » * *p& fficaljr agnostic or atheistic the idea of science having 
ultimate explanatory value was assumed, if not stated. 

The rrligjnu* nature of this scrcntism became focused in the proposal by Crick in 
1958 thai the How of in formation in the biological world constituted the 'central 
dogma* of molecular biology. It is dear that, in some sense. Crick was making a joke 
by usng mis frankly religious language. However, the fact that he and others saw it to 
a joke is telling. It speaks to an unconscious faith in science and a concomiunt 
disdain for rchj-inrt to -my case, ihe central dogma is picked up as the defining 
statement of the new discipline, such lhat every modern textbook of biology use* this 
phrase to describe biological information. 

Before he died. Crick attempted to downplay his use of the word 'dogma 1 , calling ji 
a "poor choke of words'. However,, historians of thediseipline were quick to adopt the 
religious implication. Horace Judscn wrote a masterful book, describing the birth of 
molecular biology, based on interviews with those who werearound at the beginning 
The title of this book is The Eighth Day of Creation ( Judson [99* ). 

The Dominance of the Molecular 


Carl Vibes?, 3 molecular biologist, has contributed a great deal to our models of ihe 

natural world, including hi* insights into how relationships between organisms can 

be defined. Recently he published a review paper in which he looks at the history of 

molecular biology m relation to other life sciences. In this paper, entitled A New 

ft:ology for a New Century', he writes: The most pernicious aspect of the new 

molecular bioEogy was its reductionist perspective, which came to permeate biology, 

completely changing its concept of living systems and leading to a change in society's 

concept thereof (Woesc 2004: 174)- It was certainly true that, by the later pan of the 

twentieth century, it was impossible to think of any aspect of biology withoul 

invoking the rw-Darwinian paradigm. As the tools available 10 the molecular 

>«ologisl were perfected, the hold over the other sciences tightened. It became 

standard procedure to ask about the genes that were involved, whether one was 

irrvcstigaung some aspect of ceJJular metabolism or observing mating behaviour. All 

of biology, to paraphrase Crick, could be reduced to DNA. 

The other life wien« disciplines, such as development biology, organismic 
biology, and ecology, maintained their separate existence, but increasingly looked 

llW "" "lOGY AND RELIGION 17- 

t0 mo kcubr WlrtgY for the new rook „ Mded l0 m ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ fl 
of nndeic .icid sequence. This move w* both by the power of technology 
re yield new nuxfeb. u wrfl « by lhe desfa „f Ending source* .o have the b,«i ,nd 
boi approach. As r r«ult. cherbhed idea, about whole ^tcrm and cmerRcnt 
properties v«« » odds w,ih .He new. atomistic <pi«cma]ogy. W «e «n«p,uki« 
rjfe eaaOta when he votes: The intuitive dispiriiy between atomic reality and (he 
-bjokipal reality' mhereni in dif«, experience beam* the dialectic ihzt undcriw 
lhe development of m century biology (Wocse 2004: 174), 

From Science to Engineering 

■M™ !■■•-" 

Any science makes progress by the development of better tools for observation 
Examples include the telescope for astronomy, the cyclotron for particle physics! 
and the microscope for cell biology and microbiology. This is no less true for 
molecular biology. It is especially significant for a discipline whose object of study 
cannot be directly appreciated with the human senses. The molecular bioLoost 
cannot 'see' DMA. ^ 

The golden age culminated with the building of models that described how the 
information in the gene becomes the functionality within the cell. All types of life. 
from viruses to humans, were assumed and shown to use these same basic methods 
of genetic expression. These models were built using data obtained with a variety of 
sophisticated instruments. Each advance in understanding led to a corresponding 
improvement of the methods. When molecular biologists came to appreciate the 
structure of UNA as defined by the Watson-Crick model, this suggested not only the 
mechanism by which the molecule could be duplicated in the cell, but also the ways 
in which to demonstrate this duplication. 

During the heyday of discover)' in the 1960s, new molecular features of the living 
wcrfd came to be appreciated in finer and finer detail. leading to ever more elaborate 
models. Towards the end of that decade, molecular biologists turned their attention 
towards the celLs of higher life forms, the so-called eukaryotk world, which include* 
the cells Chat make up humans. Earlier, it was assumed that the information gathered 
from the simple bacterial cdl Escherichia coii would be identical for all life forms. As 
Jacques Monod wrote, 'What's true for E. colt is true for the elephant' (Mo-nod 1972). 

Most interestingly, this turned out not to be the entire story. Ai the molecular 
complexity of euknryotic cells began to unfold, it became clear that the basic features 
of all life were lhe same: all cells use DMA as the genetic material; all ceus use RNA a. 
an intermediate informational molecule; jnd all celts translate the code into protein 
in essentially the same way. The 'central dogma 1 is, in effect, universal. However, Ihe 
details of the processes revealed a myriad of differences, many of which turned out to 
be Truly significant tor modelling how the genetics of these higher cells function 

By Ihe end of the 197c*, significant inroads were lacing made into the wnrking* 
of the eulcaryanc cetL Bui - tifici life forms had not been abandoned. Instead, 
molccuhr biologists runted to them M a MUTCC of the tools the^ would need ( n 
probe even deeper sntti the molecules of life into the very code ol life itself. These 
tooFs included a variety of enxymes, the biological catalysts that drive Use chemical 
reaction* of the cell. These enzymes could he isolated from simple life forms such aj 
bacteria or viruses and then turned into verv precise instruments that could ma- 
nqralate DMA. cutting it and re-splicing it in specific ways. These efforts Jed to the 
transition of the molecular biologist from a scientist who could only observe living 
systems to an engineer who could, in effect, after and design genes in the test tube. 
The era of the genetic engineer began in the midiojos, when a number of 
prominent scientists did .something remarkable. They proposed a voluntary mora- 
torium on certain kinds of engineering experiments, until a meeting could be held to 
dittura the implications. This unprecedented step was taken because the scientists 
realized what might be at stake. Jf gene* could be manipulated and moved from one 
organism to another in combinations that did not cost in the natural world, then the 
potential for designing and producing something dangerous was very real. 

A meeting was he3d at Asilomar Conference Center outside Monterey. California 
in Sebruary "975- The conference seas attended by molecular biologists, geneticists, 
legal opertv *nJ bibcthici<ta. The question before the assembly wts nor whethet 
such experiments should ever be done, but rather what limits to place on the 
technology, it is very important to note that, in spite of a few dissenting voices. 
most molecular biologists supported The application of this technology if i) could be 
uved safely and with appropriate guidelines fn place. As a result, the conference did 
not realty debate the philosophical or ethical issue* raised by the technology, but 
rather went about creating the regulatory agency that would oversee the proper use 
of the new methods. 

And so began the roost recent era uitfrclmturyof rnoEerul&r biology; the age of the 
genome and of recombinant DNA. 

The Short, Happy Life of Molecular 


Tiling* went swimmingly at fir*. Universities set up committees, as required bv the 

^ermng agency, that would review and pa* on research usmg the new technology. 

federal agency responsible for regulation was the Recombinant DNA Adviv- 

omm.ttce, or RAC. Each unit requesting federal funds had to establish a local 

sion of this grcMtp, costing of both researchers and community representatives. 

*rve<i for much of my career at the University of Arizona as a member of our 

Institutional Siosafcty Committee. 

*ND uri ic.con 


Wi ,hg .csmpkice. the technology ww Qp bitcd in the «TVKeoFmodellin« 

, hc timcubnaJ aspects of gene cjcpressron. However. .1 was clear from the outset that 
these methods ol genetic manipulation also lent themselves to industrial «*&* 
Ikm After ill. once you could isolate the gene that encodes human msulin or hLm 
growth hormone and move it uito a bacterial coU such that the protein cuuld be 
produced in commercially important quantities, it is easy to «e how these tools 
became much more than merely avenues of fruitful research. 

Biotechnology companies flourished, and their pubhc stock offerings were wildly 
iricipued and traded. By the end of the i 9 »os there was hardly an academic 
molecular biologist who did not have some tic to a biolcch company, whether .1 be 
11 a founder, a member of the board of directors, or a grant recipient. True, some of 
the most innovative work was done in these companies, and major improvements in 
the technology led 10 even more fanciful but achievable goals. Nonetheless, raolecu- 
lar biology seemed to be passing from a science that asked basic questions and built 

vibratory models to an applied discipline which provided the toots for this new 

; rdon the pun) growth industry. 
Molecular biology couJd have been heading for oblivion, remembered only for its 
storied past- What was needed was a new challenge 10 set it back on tuck, Thai 
challenge came along in the form of the Human Genome Project, The quest to 
sequence our own genetic material proved to be both the salvation of the field and 
the driving force behind a major paradigm shift through whkh we are currently living. 

The Human Genome Project: Headlong 
into the Wall of Anomaly 

When the US Department of Energy (DOE) approached leading molecubr biologists 
in 1984, at a meeting it co-sponsored in Alia, Utah, and asked. With the current 
technology and large sums of money, would it be possible 10 sequence all of human 
DNA?; the answer, after Jittk hesitation, was a resounding Of course* (Cook-Deegan 
1989)-' This was, for biology, the first attempt at what physicists call big science: This 

1 An interesting aside concerns the role of the DOE in the project- Why the tX>E? The 
history of this goes back to Ihc Manhattan Protect. Alter the bombs **ce dropped on 
Hiroshima and Nagasaki, President Truman signed a directive establishing the Atomic 
Bomb Casualty Commission {ABCCK whkh later became the Radiation Effects Research 
Foundation (RERF) (2005). The effort was placed within the purview of the Atomic Energ> 
Commission (AEC). which inherited the Manhattan Project frciutJes at Los Alamos. The 
purpose of the ABCC and the RERF was and remains ihe detection of ttUUfe&k effect* 01 
low-level radiation on human DNA. Initial observjtium of survivor* of the two blasts were 
not sensitive enough to reveal fine changes. A» a result, thv REKF m* a] way* looking lor tx ; 

would be* massive effort. At first, it wU suggested that the entire project be Imn^ 
at the Los Alamos National Laboratories, where tome of the pretiminnry work had 
■heady begun. In the end. however, a derision was made to distribute the work t -i 
number of centres around the country, and. 45 both rhe European and Japanese 
scicnurk kumnumiiY joined in, to centres around the world. 

Here. then, was .1 pmicct worthy of the discipline that had, as its principle tenet 
the central dogma. Sequencing ihe human genome would allow humane to under- 
stand ihcmsdvcs right down to the atomic level, as Grid; bad predicted. In fact, the 
most rvduaiunist interpretation would be that the gnomic sequence was oil that wm 
necessary H> completely define what it means to be human. The imago Dei was retired 
in favour of the imago DNA 

The project was bunched in 19$$, with the stated timeline of finishing the 
sequence in about twenty years. It became obvious early on that much of human 
DNA is not involved in defining the sequence of a protein. In fact, large regions of 
human DNA don't seem to contain any genes whatsoever. The term "junk DMA" wai 
coined to describe these parts of the genome, although the hubris of this appellation 
did not seem la strike many of those involved. After ail, dogma is dogma, and 
whatever lies outside belief is either heresy or funk 

In order ro speed up the process, it was decided that the only DNA that needed to 
be sequenced were those regions that encode a protein. These so-called expressed 
sequences then became the target of a massive push, resulting in the announcement 
in February of 2001 that a working draft of The sequence of the human genome had 
been completed- The millions of bases were deposited in large, public databases, 
maintained at the National institutes of Health and Los Alamos National Labora- 
tones. Now the next phase, wrne would say, is where the real work began. What dc> 
these sequences mean? 

The first inkling of a problem with this scenario was the realization that humans 
had many fewer genes than predicted. In fcet, father than die 100,000 Or so genes 
predicted, it rums out that we have somewhere between 20.000 and 25,000, not very 

much different £mm thernih.r1y.Jf this is the ca^se, then what rr^ik« us different from 
the fly? 

A cW ewrmnation of the da U revealed an even greater problem, Tne Song- 
cherished notion of the gene was now being challenged. Just what as a gene? What 
weracd to be obvious at the start was no longer clear. In April aooj, Michael Snyder 
and Mark Cerstcir. published a paper emitted Defining Genes in the Genomic Era'. 
f came 10 the remark concJusion that 'Ultimately, we believe that defining 
genes based soWy on the human genome sequence, while possible in principle, will 
not be r^acticil ,n the foreseeable (mine* (Snyder and Cerstein 2003: 26o>. 

fo^lJ? ^^^uence or Ibc genome its,!/? Tbe A£C morphed into the Nuclear 
Z£ %SL Z*C ** fM T UOml C"™**'' for Proton ag,i ns t Knv.ron. 



What might thi, mran? If. in fact, human, h. w roughlv fhc Mn * number „r ™,~ 
„ tf* fhtit-fly. and if the tong-dmUMd paradigm of the unTl h™ £?l? 

eqilaimng everything in terms of chantey and physics' 
|, ^ in fact, a physfel chemist who sa id it b«. M.ehad Many, argued in lsM 

«p| MI » the abtoy of a G ( 10 pd, wi.h a C (cytorfw.. for in„an«. i, dZ 
not cxpLun .he nature of bwtogral .nformation. of which a <iC ha* pair i* only one 
.Mil hi. D 1 «. rather, the ennrex, of that GC pair iha, leads to U« emergent property 
of .ofomuuon As a r«ult. he stated life canno, be reduced to the criml^ 7Z 
base pun In fact he contended tha, the information content of DNA must be 
inonsitm to the chemistry of ihe base pain. Otherwise a GC pair could not be found 
within different contorts meaning different things. In effect, a GC base pair in a does 
DNA would mean exactly the same thing as it does in & Since this i, not 
the cue, the information is not reducible to chemistry. 

It is perhaps not surprising then, thai when molecular biology finally completed it, 
magnum opus, it ran headbn & into this Pofanyian issue. .Molecular biology. a mclh- 
odobgiajr reductionist science, washed with an epidemic problem. ReduetWm 
asa way of something was no longer fully tenable ui practice, though it had 
methodological advantages. The solution to this problem came from an unexpected 
direction, and resulted in what may be one of the major paradigm shift* in science 

Back to the Future: A Return to 
Holistic Science 

In his wonderful philosophical essay Carl Woese points out that the problems in 
hiology had always, until the advent of the molecular approach, been considered 
within the context of broader biological systems. Evolution, he argues, is a holistic 
problem, as is the issue of developmental biology. However, the dominance of 
molecular biology, beginning in the middle of the twentieth century, put all th«e 
other views either on the back burner or into the historical archives. 

When the dominant paradigm of a duciplme is challenged by either recurring 
JMnalies or unexphiiiable phenomena, that discipline IS ready for a shift. Thomas 
Kuhn used as his predominant exemplar of this effect the Copcmicaii revolution that 
supplanted the Ptolemaic mode]. In our recent history we have also seen the shift in 
physic* from the Newtonian to ihe quantum model, I would argue that we are in the 
midst of this same kind of shift in biology. 

Ihe massive database of the Human GenonK Project U accompanied by similar 
database* of sequences for other organisms, including the fruit-ftv. the mous*. th* 

round worm. Mid several other expcrin ienul orgsntstm. The- wnrMwuk- .f.iutu^ 
coBection recently celebrated the milestone of reaching too gigabascs. H.» w , 
manage all of this dau? Entrr two string disciplines: complexity theory and network 
In 19*7 Suuiiey VUlgranv a Yale sociologist, published the results of a remarkable 
a&j. lie asked a simple cjuestion: how many steps or Hub sic there between any twn 
people on the planet? In order to iffltWM Ah question, he picked, at random, names 
from ihc telephone directory in a Midwestern town. He sent each of them a letter, 
•skins that they mad a card to a specific person in New Haven. Connecticut. If they 
knew ihtv person, they were ro nidi! the card right away. If they did not. they were to 
send the card ro someone whom they believed might know the person. At each stage, 
a report would lie sent bad; to Milgroni. From this- experiment, he calculated that 
dicrc art, on average, about 5.6 steps between any two people on tiie Earth, from 
which we derive the "six degrees of Separatum dictum. 

It turns out that this is an example of a scale-free, or small-world. network. It abo 
turns out that such networks are descriptive of organization at all levels, from the 
social network* Bud) IS those Milgram investigated, to the worldwide web, from 
food chains to the Hollywood acting community and Irani whole organisms to the 
network of reactions that take place inside the cell. 

A number of books have been published recently that describe the features of such. 

networks, including those by AJhert-LaszJo Barabasi (iooi) and Duncan Watts 

(sooj). For our piirposes. it is only important to realize that the properties of the 

network jrc not simply derived by summing up the individual parts. Rather, the 

properties are emergent— that is, the network has features that can be understood 

only in a holistic manner, and not simply as the supervenient properties of its 

constitutive pa/ts. It u the connections and interactions between the nodes, ihc 

points or centres riut make trp the network, that are important, not the nod« to 

and of themselves, in this emergence. 

When this model is applied to genomic databases, it turns out that it really isn't the 
genes alone, or even the proteins encoded by those genes (the proteome, as it is 
called), but rather the interaction patterns between tlie proteins and various other 
macromolecularvorriponenu in each ceil thai constitute the network. As a result ol 
this realization of increasing complexity and interactivity, we are now seeing Ihc 
beginnings of a holistic or network approach to living systems, where interaction 
maps, or intcractomes, are produced, describing the ways in which all of the known 
prolans in a ceil are linked in a network 

This change in molecular biology happened quite suddenly. One of the first major 
indicators that a substantive alteration of the bask assumptions had taken place was 
the publication of an issue of Same, the journal of the American Association for the 
Advancement of Science, devoted to networks and biology [Sckna, jona). The 
papers contained in tins issue examined the network approach to understand, iig 
ryervthins from intracellular metabolk reactions to neural systems to social insects. 
Ouring the succeeding years, rarely a month has gone by without the publication of 
.meracTion maps, for the fruit-fly (Giot rr «L 1003,. the roundworm (Li a stL looal. 

**■ AH1I HF| K.nv 


OT yeast (Hood tx «». 2004). For now, mudi action is bei nis given to produc.™ 
nun maps- * 

And how do lh«e map* appear* 1 low , rt , h ey gcnera.ed? The accomplishment is ■ 
mW png of jmcroarray technology, brge.scale computation, and com p!eriiv rah*. 
| R erect, the epenmenter dwmtfoa all p™ iWc inr , rJc(io|B £ J ; 
oprraed from the fcimiK of a particular organism. TW. is done by a S k,n B in 
piiMria tests, which proteins do or do no. interact. In.cracf in this cUnSfc* 
,ta two prolans b,nd together wnh sufficient strength that their pairing can send off 
a signal Out is detected in a computer scan. lfcb so-called iw„.hvbrid vysttm can be 
used to analyse ihc relationships of all of .he predict prD ,dn products from > 
genetic sequence. 

Once the interactions have been determined, a computer >s ased to generate a 
network map that shows how every protein connect, to every other protein These 
map* take on the appearance of massive. three-dimensional networks, with some 
proteins having connections lo a myriad other proteins. Ihc presence of these hi R hly 
connected nodes is emblematic of a scale free, or small-world, network, where V 
properties of the network arc more ihan the sum f the parts of thai network. Such 
networks therefore have features that can best be described as emergent 

Most molecular biologists in .his area have been content with making such maps 

and them as such. However, in a recent paper Lm Hood, a pre-eminent 

molecular biologist, attempted to determine just how the emergen, property cfsuch 

maps would affect the behaviour of a cell{ Hood ctaL 2004). In these experiments .he 

effect of a mutation of one of these key nodal proteins was examined. When the 

mutant was produced and its interactomc determined, the ripple effect on the 

network was pronounced, and went far beyond what might have been predicted. 

Functions far removed from the mutated protein were affected. 1. was apparent that 

the mutation altered much more than the function of the altered protein. These kinds 

of experiments may represent the new direction that the discipline is taking: .he use of 

emergent network properties as a model for understanding Irving systems a. all levels. 

it is certainly true thai most molecular biologists are missftilly unaware of this 

ongoing change in paradigms. If 1 may speak for outers in my field, we are lovers of 

new tools. Having the ability to use sophisticated molecular methods coupled with 

powerful computational software to produce interaction maps certainly qualifies is 1 

new tool, one that comes with all sorts of bells and whistles. We biologists are busy 

learning how to use the too! and finding out what it can and cannot do. As a result. 

the notion of a paradigm shift does not even occur to us. Or perhaps i. may be too 

soon lo identify this as a true shift in Ihc underlying approach. In the early stages, of 

the quantum revolution, it was mil at all clear that the new quantum physics was 

more than just a clever trick lo get around insoluble problems. In fact. Eastern never 

accepted quantum mechanics, claiming that the model was unnecessary and that 

everything could be well modelled by proper use of statistical methods. This may be 

the case with network biology. However, it appears to me that when molecular 

biologists are talking about emergen, properties as real rather than epiphcnomci ■ 

we are hir.uliiH) in .1 wn, Aiff*r+n.t afM«t<MK 

New Directions, New Reflections: 
A Religious Reaction 

Ijn ftailxuir (1990) and John Haught 1 1995I have jrgued that the interaction between 
SCknct and theology Tall into one of four typologies: conflict, contrast, conversation, 
and confirmation. I he conflict model is. of course, the one popularised by the 
media. The contrast mode! was favoured by biologies like the late Stephen jay 
ili. who proposed the idea of non-overlapping rnagistcm (NOMA). 
Moat people iaralved in the theology-science discourse favour a conversational 
model, if hoi ooe that resote in mutual confijwalion of some Ednd I fcntidering thi 
previous orientation of rnokculaT biology, it is difficult to imagine a conversation 
when Iwrth participants arv facing in opposite directions. This does not take into 
account that many working scientists hat'e presupposed, as their professional position, 
at least, that science has everything to say, and that theology is, at best, a 'soft' discipline. 
It is toy contention thai science in general, ittd irtolecular biology in particular, ha* 
reached the time for it to take its proper place at the table of discourse. Science 
sometimes needs to sit and listen in humility. Indeed, it is the experience of paradigm 
shift thai can humble a discipline enough to quiet the intellectual self-talk and allow 
Other voice* to be heard 

One such woke is that of Beatrice Bruteau. In Gad's Ecstasy (1997). she writes of a 

Trinitarian reaction to science. Her purpose in this book is to show contemplative 

hrisrians wfiy the) shouW be excited about science. She says at the very beginning: 

*My hope is to show religious readers that scientific knowledge of the natural World 

which includes pcopte and people's cultures) is important, is part of our religious 

life, our practice, the way we live divine life' (Bruteau 19971 y). 

As her chief metaphor she uses the idea that the Trinity is* in fact, an interacting 
system, a symbiotic system, and a community. All of these features arc, of course, 
part of living organisms, fn the previous version of molecular biology, the reduc- 
tion*! dictum would consider these features to be epiphenomena of genome- 
encoded information that specified everything about that organism, whether it t* 
yeast, fruit-fly, or human. In the new approach to biology, however, the language of 
networks and systems is perfectly intelligible. This does not mean that a molecular 
biologist reading Brateaus book will come to an agreement with the Christian 
contemplative Me. However, it does mean that both molecular biologists and theo- 
logians in this case arc, for the first time, using very similar language. With her focus 
on tnnitarian theology. Bruteau writes, for instance 'From elementary particles in 
atom. Through atoms in molecules, molecules in cdls, cells in organisms, 
organisms in soaetiev to social actions and even ideas-all of them being organised 
systems— the iriniiarian image, as a Many-One. as a Community, has been 
present and growing' (Bruteau 1907; o). 

This book, published in 1997. presages the change in molecular biology that did 
not really become cedent until si* yea* later. One could ask. in agreement with 

n *l' BEL 



rcw vcraon of the ^ A* begin, wi.h ne,w, Jlk , of S^ nxdccL 
merges to humanktod imMlom with ,h c divine prince, h ™ y be p^ibk 

ftbnc rf <taU ,, be. for c Ump!e , , hat ,ho in.Lc.on of hurni 
Mrth -he D.vnuy and w,th e^h other « consi*™, wuh. bu, no, rafadW. to, fe 
interactomc of the human cell? ^ 

Concluding Remarks 

Molecular biology as a discipline has had a short and tumultous history, ft has risen 
to become the pre-eminent paradigm of the life sciences and. from that position, h» 
dominated the research agenda of the last half of the twentieth century ir, disciplines 
far removed from the pure study of genes. As ao example, molccuJar medicine is 
based firmly on this paradigm. Throughout mis rapid rise, the goal had always been 
the finer and finer description of genes, leading, as Crick and others argued, to an 
understanding of everything at the atomic leveL With the massive complexity issues 
that arise from the ultimate reductionist project, the Human Genome Project 
molecular tooiogy has been offered a chance for humility and introspection. The 
change from atomism to systems may ultimately be profound, and may result in 1 
way not only to move through the morass of sequence data, but also to overcome the 
philosophically impoverished position of oniologkal reductionbirL 

References and Suggested Reading 

B*RA.Asr.A-L (1002}. Linked: Vic S'nrSacuaif Networks. New York Perseus Books Group. 
Barhouj*. I. (1990). Migion m tmAgt o/Saenu. San Francisco: Harper San Francisca 
Mvteau. B. (i»7>. God's Ecstasy- Vtr Oration of a Self-Crtatmg UfaU Sew York; Crossroad 

Classic Publishing Company. 
Cmpns. I, Stent, G.> Watsox. J. (1992). />%e md the Qtipm w MMteuftv teste®. Gold 

Sprang Harbor. N.Y.; Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. 
Cook-DtacAK, R. (198*1. The Alw Summit. December \&fi Omcmkf, * A61-*. 
Cue** F. (1966J. OfMaLades <ind Mct. ScafiBK University of Washington Pi. 
Ciot. I-, d a L [2003). 'A Froiein Interaction Map of DrosophSa nutftmgnmt Sekme, wi 

Haucht, I (iV95J r Science aiui Retigian: Fnm Conflia to Cwn*r*ati>m. M ahu ah. Ml; Pauls! 

Hoon L. Heath, f. R.. Pm*m»s. M. a, and Lin, b\ (looal. Systems Biology afid tit* 

Iud*on. J I 1 1.996). Th* Bfffitk Day if CWtffft Makm tfOtt Jtewifiirien m Biohgx expands 

eda. Cold Sprms ftUrfaoi. S V Cold Spring H«bor Liberator; Bku 
Ll. S.. if fll <ao©*}. A Mlp Of *e Jntettrtarac Network of The? Metozoan C. eii$rin.<: &vn<-r. 

301: 5^0—1, 
Murium, S. U9*7* 'TV Small World PioWem". PrwAafcyrj' r«ty B 60-7. 
Mown I ftpO. C>«m* WNnW* N*w York Alfred Knopt 
(1971). Tout or qui «a vrau poor le Colibatalk est vrai pour I 'elephant'; <httfr_/j 

Pol. v . M 1**68 1. lift's Irreducible Stnwftuct $efcft% tfu iw^-ix 
Radiarkws EnVct* Research Foundation um*). <hMp//>. 
Sch*cu>ij-c.e*. L (1944) M%i* o t|H TV Physical Aspects of the Uving Oft Cambridge 

Cambridge Utmmin 
Science [ =00$). Saema. joa. 
Sktma M. and Gekti-in. M (MQft 'Penning Genes in the Genomic Era; SeifflCft 300: 

W*TT« D. law}). $**flfjpm: TV&inmrfl/tf Cwmmwi Age. New York W« \V. Norton and 

Wawt C (2004 V "A New Biology for a Nw Century". Mitrvthtogy <rraf Mtftxulnr Biotegp 

&*nm% 6S; 173-16. 






If ttare is ever a ume in which we must make profession of two opposite 
truths, it is when wc afc reproached for omitting one. 

Pascal. ftrti>cci 


There is a grandeur in this view of life. Darwin famously mused at th< close of the 
Origin, 'with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a 
frw forms or into one; and that . . . from so simple a beginning, endless forms most 
wonderful have been, and are being evolved' < Darwin 1965: 44^ Although it has been 
suggested that this benediction was a disingenuous sop to Victorian sensibilities, the 
undeniable tact remains, as biologists soundly affirm, thai there is a grandeur to the 
fecund creativity of life, and ||* emergent bans arc indeed most wonderful. For 
many, the wry 'breath of the Creator' is evident in the wondrouslv endowed cosmos 
Darwin helped elucidate, and faith in that Creator has been comspojub'ngi)' mag- 
nified Ivan Tdl 1996; Haughi jooo). 

Bui things are not that easy. Around the tinre Darwin wrote the above, he 
mentioned in a letter to Hoofer* What a book a devil's chaplain mtghi write on 
the clumsy, wasteful, blundering, low. and horribly and wort of nature?' (Darwin 

i. ami fnmcmcd more seriously to Asa Gray. '1 cannot persuade myself thnt a 
benenccni and omnipotent God would have designedly created' the contrivances of 
parasitoid* for consuming iherr hosts alive (Darwin 199,1-' i^4» tiled in Ruse icfli; 
130), This apparent double-rmndedncss is not sbdbw duplicity but profound am 
bivalence, reflecting interpretive ambiguity with the power to both rend internal 
coherence and polarize community Almost immediately, mere was a radical division 
not only between, but ako within. scientific and religious communities over the 
implications of Darwin > ideas. Contemporary historiographic critiques of science* 
religion warfare notwithstanding, there is no denying thai Darwinism has been seen 
by both advocates and critics as challenging important theological beliefs of the 
Abraharnic traditions. Writing fnr the Fncyrtopnrdia Britannia*,. Gavin dc fleer claims 
that 'Darwin did two things, he showed that evolution was a fact contradicting 
scriptural legends of creation and that its cause, natural selection, was automatic, 
with no room tot divine guidance or design. Furthermore, if there had been design 
it must have been very maleficent 10 cause all the suffering and pain thai befall 
ammaJs and men' i de Ueer 1974: 23). Actually, the above offers two, but suggests three 
impacts oi Darwin — contradicting Scripture, obviating divine design, and magnify- 
ing the problem of evil. In this chapter I want to explore these three issue*, at ihe 
heart of what for the past 150 years has been ft/erred to as the Evolution-Creation 
uggle (Ruse 2005). Debate (Numbers 1995)* Controversy (Larson 3003), or Battle 
iRacuch 1900). 

To begin with, such a depiction of dichotomous contest is a threefold misnomer 
Fiftf. the "debate is not just over scientific and religious understandings of origins, 
but over the very character of the natural world. And it entails deep ambiguities in 
the relationship between nature and religious belief that have Always existed, which 
are not so much caused ad further illuminated by evolutionary theory. Moreover, 
these interpretive ambiguities exist vers- much within evolutionary theory as well 
Seairnd — artd thi« uriJI be a major focus of this chapter there is not juvt oik: 
'controversy' or 'struggle', but many. And almost every issue involves not a two- 
sicW debate— evolution versus creation— but a continuum, often an entire Land- 
scape, of nuanced positions. Third. Che very nomenclature of evolution and creation 
rafts to represent not only the variable landscape of topics and posit ions, but also the 
complex explanatory hierarchy in scientific and religious understanding. Evolution- 
ary biology and theology entail, and therefore interact at T various tattb of interpret- 
ive scale. 

Eschewing dichotomous caricatures of the issues, there is nevertheless one feud 
about which it is appropriate to cry, 'A plague on both your houses!' The polar 
«ttcme*arc not -creationists' versus 'evolutionists, which are neither homogeneous 
m discrete, much less orthogonal taxa to begin with. Rather, within eadt variable 
Joma.n there are. on the one hand, those who arc persuaded that the two perspec 
trm are uuerly irreconcilable [Davvkim ano* Johnson 1993. *»o). and on the other 
d those who sangujnely believe that there is neither serious tension nor poten- 
t-ally fruitful interaction, became there is no substantial overlap ( Miller 1999; Could 
»uj. The pmniH Of this chapter is that there is profound intersection between 




ttoolcv and Mhil.on.iry theory, entailing both unresolved ambiguity and under 
exploited opportunity. * M unaer 

Levels of Inquiry 

Evolutionary Scale 

There is an chemically ascending scale of theologically significant propositus in 
evolutionary theory- First is the set of obsemtional data, or the text' of nature In 
the fossil record, exploration of the tropic* and ether ways, me eighteenth and 
nineteenth cenrurtes dtscovered, in a sense, previously hidden manuscripts that 
forever changed our sense of the authorized version of natures text. Notwithstanding 
that hcts are seen through the interpretive lens of theory, several startling and 
theologically significant propositions have come to be accepted as fact The idea of 
deep time, or a 14-billion-year-oW cosmos, calls tnto question certain readings of 
Genesis and the very idea of a Designer instantaneously creating life through direct 
causes (Haught 2000). It also entail* a temporal humbling of humanity's place in 
creation, analogous to the Copemican spatial humbling. The primordial nature of 
death and suffering challenges dominant Augustmian. if not biblical, notions of an 
initially perfect creation. The observation of continuing creation raises questions of 
mmal perfection and i,mi . reft, and fcc musivc otadyamsacd possabk prop ssive 
lubireor such change harbour significant theological implications. Last, and most 
significant, is the notion of common descent While in Darwin s lime this propos- 
ition had the status of a theoretical inference from the data. « is now itself regarded as 
a historical 'tact". The implications of common descent for anthropology and ethics 
are profound and widely debated not only between, but abo within, scientific and 
theological communities (Rachels 1990). 

The next level involves exegesis' of what the text is telling us about origins. Of 
course the radical cxegetical claim of Darwinism is that there > m entirely adequate 
naturalistic explanation for the origin of organic adaptation and bioti< diversity; 
variation and selective replication are understood a s fully competent 10 do the work 
previously believed to require divine design. With the removal of this last impedi- 
ment, biology is "seieirtized*. and naturalistic mechanisms achieve the status of not 
m\y warranted inference but also requisite starting assumptions for explanations of 
life (Dewey iym>. Indeed, not only is natural selection universally accepted as a 
mechanism of evolutionary diversification. jI is also widely presumed to explain the 
historical alpha and omega' of evolution: life* origin and the recent emergence and 
nature of selfawarc. rational, moral creatures. This is the case even though we 
presently lack comprehensively accepted proposals and there is some criticism within 
Ihe scholarly community about whether these phenomena lie within the bounds of 


Darwinian, (though not naturalistic) explanation (e.g. see Gcuald 1991 455 f or 
biogenesis; l>uprr. 20Q} for human nature). 

Third, it is not ium generic naturalism, hue the interpretive level involving the 
specific JaW of EMtunfim ui new-Darwinism, that may be most significant. The 
former makes a Designer-God UfHuvo-afj the latter seems U> make one nmen 
able — not jusr in the eyes of anti-evolutionists (lohnwn 1995) or evolutionary 
materialists (Da^taro 2003; Deimen 1995)* hi* even to the eyes of evolutionary 
theologians rHaufchl 2000. 2003*- Why so? The integration of selection theory with 
genetics by the Modern Synthesis is taken by ([ambiguously entitled) nco~ Darwinian 
ntrTpTctation* to entail thn ictfves First, the nature of variation and differ- 

ential replication it construed to entail random mutation and blind selection, or 
contingency. Therefore the process of evolution is not just undirected, but dts- 
telcologicaf. much like a drunk stumbling down the street (Gould 1906). Second, 
competitive struggle is 001 only the outcome, but ihe driving force Ivhind creation 
And even if co-operation and symbiosis play a larger role in evolution than some 
allow, their ultimate effect H to confer competitive reproductive advantage. Third, 
there is 1 particular kind of reduction-ism involved in nco- Darwinian naturalism. It is 
not fust the explanatory reduclioninn of viewing jicnn as the units of variation and 
selective transmission, but organic life itself Ls understood as serving the vAm of the 
gene, or being survival machines for genes' (Dennett 1990: 59; Dawkins 1995). "DKA 
neither knows norcarcs. DN T A iust is. And we dance to its music* (Dawkins 1995; 133J, 
Indeed, fox some, these three interpretive perspectives combine to yield an ultimate 
meta- interpretive deciphering of organismtc reality: 'What's in it for me is the 
ancient refrain of all life' I Barash 1977: i6?>. There is considerable scientific disagree- 
ment about the first three points and substantial debate over the last, as well as a wide 
range of possible theological responses. The theological implications of netv Darwin- 
ism and its internal contrmersies are therefore far more profound than just the issues 
of common descent or naturalistic origins. 

Fourth, there is an cpistemology that is noi strictly entailed by. but is made 
possible by. evolutionary biology. This is evolutionary srient&m — the view thai 
only saentinc understanding constitutes genuine knowledge, and given Darwin- 
ism, questions of ultimate purpose haw no answers that qualify as knowledge. 
Richard Dawkins points out that we may rightly ask the temperature or colour of 
many things, but you may not ask the temperature question or the colour 
question v f. »y, jealousy or prayer. Similarly, then, we may ask the purpose of a 
bicycle or another clearly designed artefact, but 'the Why question... when posed 
about a boulder, a misfortune, Mt Everest, or the universe, .can be simply 
inappropriate, however heartfelt' (199* 97>- John Haught refers to this refusal or 
ouabain to ask what it ail means as 'a kind of "cosmic literalism" stuck on ihe 
turfcee of nature', analogous to a biblical literatim that misses the depths of 
Scripture {2003; p. rhO. Quite ironically, and quite revealing)?,. Dawkins, very 
examples are dramatically illustrative of tins point, a* one wonders in what sense 
umply inappropriate' to speak of being green with Jealousy or lukewarm to 
prayer. Such metaphors of interionty make no scientific sense; hut that only 



R tlccts the limits of science, and those who circumscribe the domain of apnropn 
ate questions to what ss answerable by science. 

Theological Scale 

Theological characterizations of the origin and nature of life scale in .n analogous 
fashion to the above evolutionary perspectives. Because I will explore i number of 
these issues more deeply in subsequent sections. I will provide only a brief ratline 
htTL .. Rrst-^nd most prominent in many American refigious responses to evolu- 

onary lheory--« the imerprciation of the biblical account!*-] of origins, Notwith- 
standing the profound differences between constituencies who read the mt quite 
literally and those who encounter it largely theologically. cv en a modest reading of 
historical (eg. a fell) or anthropological (e.g, i mi g Dn) content in Genesis will not 
avoid interaction with evolutionary theory. 

Second, there are several issues that emerge not from the biblical iccounl of 
origins, but merely from what might be considered generic understandings f God 
as Creator The issue of design, and more generally of creations testimony to divine 
purpose, the problem of evil, and the question of divine action ire all provoked by 
evolutionary theory. Third, there is a range of issues in biblical and syHcmatic 
theology that are not strictly coupled to views of origins, but are nevertheless related 
to evolutionary theory. Theological anthropology (human uniqueness, original sin), 
biblical ethics Ugapk love, naturalistic morality), and the grounding of salvincand 
eKhatological hope may be challenged or enriched, but may not escape the impli 
cations of evolutionary theory. 

Finally, there is the issue of religious cpistemology. This involves more than just 
proposing a counterpoint to evolutionary scietitism. i.c. asserting the importance 
to human nourishing ol religious in addition to scientific understandrng. Indeed, a 
iiumber of evolutionary materialists are happy to concede that religious ideas make 

important contributions to human well-being, even though such ideas are raise 

useful fictions' (Ruse i#w) or practical untruths (Wilson 1003), The point is not 
the metaphysical assertion that religious belief is fictitious (which is not an 
entailment of evolution). The deeper issue is the epbtemologicai question of 
what the mind is for, what it is equipped to 'know*. From a strict— one might 
say fuf^ammaJut— Daminian perspective, the brain, like even other organ, 
exists to serve the gonads (Dennett 19^0; Wright 14971. The brain functions so 
that we rend to construe as True what is reproductivdy efficacious-— true or not 
Traditional religious epislcmology affirms the ostensible opposite; the mind, indeed 
the person, exists for the very purpose of knowing and loving the truth. iiseJl 
personal, even at the possible expense of radical reproductive relinquishment. Of 
course there is currently a provocative flourishing of scientific and philosophical 
debate over reductive and adaptation^] explanations at mind, and this constitutes 
both a need and an opportunity for engagement by iheisiic metaphysics iPlantinga 
aws; Haught 2003). 

ikiuu? IEMf 


Biblical Views of Origins 

Although ar^roache* lo interpreting scriptural tests on origins and renting them to 
v^enee vary .along a continuum there arc, if not two distincl poles, at least two kinds of 
WfOtt nrwlvwa: interaction between scriptural and evolutionary accounts of origins. 


^mjc involves the relationship between the Genesis story and the actimt evttits 
that occurred when earth. life, and humanity came to be. There is a continuum here 
between vonng earth crratiomsm's commitment lo a year-old cosmos, special 
creation of indi vtdual taxa. Edcnic Adam, and Noachian flood (with versions that ilo 
and do not assert confirmation by science), to "progressive creationism's ancient 
earth and evolved biota, punctuated by episodes of creative intervention and the 
special creation of humanity directly from dust, to the more modest and recent papal 
affirmations of Darwinian evolution, along with divine involvement in creation of 
the human spirit, to several rullv evolutionary understandings with varying accounts 
of divine influence (see Table lit). 

Table 12.1. Major rmtonographie approaches to creation and evolution 













Asoer.tific YcC 





















intelligent Ucs>gft 








,3 6 






Theistie evolution 







Evotutionafy Theism 







Jtott* THT: TTpyn, Eann Oranomsm 
AKwMtfieYtC k "a«w*r»r*t nia^ weap theories. 
Se*Mific OrMtomw U 'food geology. 

Dfc J rfW- frrtrngnaiy fc«orv tat tw pnmdMial* 9 uided by mans other !ta n olafalaMim* <* 
~i*i co*m*>u (hcvsn rot ntttwtty by m:trycni>onisE * fetrctutfe action. 

k Delation povh em*** c.e, w eo^W, a read*,, * Scripts r uftfrtandit, of Gorfs 

^^r^T'^ ealh,<BUpM "'* (, »twwn«nrw undetsu^no* of db»H- actton 
f »« m f^'t to Ac to* flwc pontw-i * wlahlt 

Clearly, rfny interpretaik.n thai invoke* an attribution of divu 

« gWWor a historical fact (e.j. monophyletic origm of rwtaft,) opewAe^S 
,o concord or discord wuh evolutionary theory. Th.s ,««« .he term* of Gnfik* 
for science and religion, which Asserts that the Scnpturcs teach 'how to ao to 
heaven, not how the heavens go' But any proposal for peace by separation ts no, 
adequate for an understanding of the biblical tradition that posits, , continue the 
plav or, words, a sacred history of "how heaven came to us'. The ^Hv a for the 
Abraham* traditions is not whether, but in what way. the Scriptures teach that Cod 
has mteracted with history. Clearly, the more literal the readings and the more 
ancient the history, the greater the discord with evolution. 

In light of this, and given the rich history of allegorical theological interpretation 
,r |f templing to view biblical literalism about origins uskg the Weberiaji concept 
religious routimzation— that is. religion haa bst contact with profound sacred 
meanings and substituted reined bui nominally religious understanding (Schfew 
JO05). fiauglu (2003) insightfully suggests that both creationisin and evolutionary 
materialism represent shallow literalisms that fail to see deeper meanings. Although 
these criticisms may have merit, they fail to represent the complicity of the issues, 
and Haughi's point even involves a patent das analogy. While evolutionary 
materialism clearly entails a rejection of deeper interpretations of life, religious 
commitment to litcralist historiography— involving a gradient tram affirming the 
Resurrection, to the Davidic reign, to wilderness wanderings, Abrahams historicity, 
or an Edenic Adam— is often predicated precisely on aeaptittg the deeper signift- 
caa« of an event as allegory, type, example, sign, or down payment on a pnwnitt 
with cruriaJ theological significance. Historical liieralism(s) may involve scriptural 
misinterpretation, but it is not necessarily shallow interpretation, unresponsive to 
allegorical or theological meanings. 

Perhaps partly in this context Alvin Planiinga suggests that accepting a young 
earth on the basis of scriptural testimony, to the face of scientific evidence to [he 
contrary, ought not be automatically judged as pathological or irrational or irre- 
sponsible or stupid' (Plantinga 1991: 15). Michael Ruse responds that even if a 
religious believer hilly accepts Darwinism, if she could allow the possibility that 
someone else could reasonably reject Darwinism on the basis of Scripture, that belief 
system is 'irresponsible and stupid" and ought to be rejected' (soot: 50,!. Planting! J 
not suggesting that avoiding evidential ambiguity by substituting bad science for 
legitimate science could be warranted by religious belief. The more nuanced claim is 
that in cases of conflict between property conducted empirical science and religious 
belief, given the fallibility of all human understanding, and .m adequate internal 
coherence and epistcmk foundation of religious belief, it may not be irrational to 
attcpt religious understanding. This entails living with the tension of unresolved 
conflict in evidence. 

My point is not to emphasize, much less to authorise, extreme literalism, but to 
locate this issue— along with the range of more moderate historiographies involving 
evolution and religion — within an cpistcmolog\ thai promote* rather than fore- 
closes, dialogue. First, it is neither productive nor warranted to withhold the 

presumption of rationality-, in two decades of intending with those holding wildly 
varying beliefs about evdution And creation, it U dear thai the more generously 
concern* ami reasons are respected, the more genuine is discussion and assessment of 
one's own and other position* in light of both theology and science. I nctus ion utsurh 
dialogue constitutes an essential opportunity for interpretive checks and balances. 

Second, the life of faith cannot avoid encountering dissonance between the 
observed worid and rdigiou* bopc Or revelatory promise. Honestly facing tension, 
and on mix occasions affirming one's understanding of revelation — not rcflexively, 
but deliberative!) and in the mrdst of Year and trembling' — is risky, but not intrin- 
sically irresponsible. Indeed, wrestling with ambiguity and. like lacoh, perhaps 
rinding deepened faith in the very experience of failure to prevail, may constitute j 

crucial portj! to rrligiou* QtttOfl 

It is the lack of this mature willingness to walk with an epitfernic limp, so to speak, 
that may account not so much for biblical literalism as for the more injurious 

attempt to compress ambiguity out of experience by reconstructing science to fit a 
reading of Scripture. Ironically, an entirely analogous error is made in Ruses {and 
some theologians « insistence thai religious beliefs must be entirely trimmed to fit 
prevailing scientific understanding or circumscribed lo avoid any overlap, Thus the 
problem shared by evolutionary materialism and ereationism k not so much strict 
literalism, as naive awcordism: preferring wooden harmonization to ihe ongoing 
quest for dynamic coherence. This insistence on easy concord in the lace of theo- 
logical question* raised by the natural world, from evolutionary naturalists and 
creationists lo Jobs wife and friends, typically results in two extremes: exhortations 
lo fc curse God and die, or attempts to defend God with proverbs of ashes'. 

Finallv, not all is ambiguous. Clearly the Scriptures view creation as a historical 
process, whether or not theyprovidean account of its history. talhebeginningaihhinp 
came to be through the Lege* creation was not instantaneous but involved Gods 
progressive orden ng. blessing, and empowering,; there have been disruptive!)' profound 
changes tn humanity's rehEionship to God and nature since humans arose. These claims 
are neither modest nor incoherent in evolution's light- The more abiding problems with 
evolution and the biWical test end up connecting this history to anthropology. 


There are three fundamental issue* in the relationship between evolutionary anthro- 
pology and biWical (primarily Genesis* accounts of humanity: the identity and 
origin of Earth's first humans, human uniqueness or hm&> Dei, and the hill. 
Surveying, much less assessing, the varied theological reflections on these topics u 
not remotely within the scope of this chapter, but I Kill comment briefly on recent 
evolutionary ideas that have special relevance. 

Bm, after considerable debate over monophyktic w poiypliyleuc and multi- 
reponaJ versus African accounts of origins, there is substantial agreement chat 
modem humans arose from a single ancestral population in Africa. Indeed. 



h.rruns are geneticatlv quite closely retired, and m.Whondrul HNA and 
y^romosornc studio hm even been represented is indicating that humamiv 
may have arisen from individual male and female pronators, though this ,s I 
ntWoterpTctttionoftliedata (Ayala 199ft). what .bout tawintirtteii of* 
soul at the origin of humanity? In one sense, this is entirely contrary to evolution- 
m Ibfory ind the scientific enterprise itself, which invokes no miracles 
fcr aplanauon. In another sense, it entails a metaphyseal question which the 
methodological naturalism employed by science claims not to answer, hut merdy 
10 disregard in explanations. Would instaJitiation of a soul in J fertilized 
egg be contrary lo embryology? Not unless one tried to make explanatory use of il 
in onbryobped development Similarly, one could posit the divine implantatum 
3 soul in Ihe course of evolution, as long as it did nor represent a causal 
equation for evolution. However, such a causally inert postulate is not very 
interesting, reflecting the criticism that 'science docs not contradict religion; but it 
make* it increasingly improbable that religious discourse has any subject matter' 
Ehjpre 2005: 60). 

The issue of human uniqueness has been fascinatingly revisited by recent evolu 
nonary theory. Qualitatively dtstinchvccrmracterfstics attributed to humans include 
language, morality, and reputationally mediated indirect reciprocity; culture and 
extra-somatic storage of information; degrees of social co-operation— even altru- 
ism—unique lo mammalian biology. This has provoked the development of a 
hierarchical theory of selection by which behavioural phenotypes are understood 
to reflect not merely genes by environmental interaction, but also the top-down 
influence of emergent information that is irreducible to genes. Rkhard Hawkins 
makes the startling claim that 'we. alone on earth, are capable of cultivating and 
nurturing, pure, disinterested altruism— something that Em no place in nature, 
something that has never existed before in ih«. whole history of the world' (Hawkins 
i$8# iOi!. While being an emphatic affirmation of human uniqueness, this naive 
statement also raises profound scientific and philosophical, not to mention theo- 
logical, questions. It reflects a nen dualism that takes humanity out of nature, rather 
than impressing Gods image on nature. Nevertheless, there is surely new fuel to itofcc 
the fire of theological reflection here (Schloss 2002). 

Finally, the question of a Fall remains perhaps one of the most significant sources 
of Tension between evolution and traditional Christian theology. There arc several 
emerging ideas m evolutionary theory thai constitute fertile, though ambiguous, 
resources for theological integration, One is the notion of conflicting legacies of 
group and individual selection, resulting in a profound behavioural and affective 
ambivalence between egalitarian co-operation and self- seeking iftochm 1999; Schloss 
2002). Another involves genetic lag, a mism.itirh between fundamental desires and 
cognitive structures that arose in the Pleistocene period and the r.iJLaJtv Jitterem: 
social and physical environments we now inhabit. Finally, there is the proposal of an 
abrupt and recent explosion of cognition, whi«.h other brairi processes have not kept 
up with and which entail significant dissonance (Mithen i999>- All ai these 

ideas provide wave of lhhI< rstjn.liiu' ihe profound -*-n»e of interior division. 

motivational ambivalence, and social estrangement thai humans interpret as having 
lost something, reflecting radical estrangement (torn til idyllic, innocent past or 
paradisaical home that was more whole and hospitable to flourishing, However, rtnne 
of these approaches is easily reconcilable with the ( notion chat what hai 
been lost is unbroken communion with God and one another, fractured by a singular, 
historic wilful disobedience. "Hie brokenness' or incompleteness of human fife ts 
historically embedded, hut ts not sinhiL Nevertheless, then? are proposals thai affirm sin (Heftier 199.1 1 • wMtib apart from God's grace may subvert the eschato- 
logical healing of broken nrs? thai our history burdens us with fHaughi 200* 
lid words 199? >■ 

Design and Purpose 

It is widely contended that 'Darwin** t-rejt contribution was the final demolition of 

the idea thai nature i* the product of intelligent design' (Rachels 1990: 1 10}. Moreover. 

in ehminating the need to invoke God as a causal explanation, Darwinism u viewed 

as eradjeanng the warrant for believing in God at all: 'Without the argument from 

design tru nothing very credible left of theism generally, and Christianity in 

particular" (Dupre soc* 56). This strong sc.cntishc claim as to what constitutes 

adequate evidential warrant for belief in God is accepted by many materialists and 

creationists. Ironically, though, design arguments are conspicuously underempha- 

sized in the biblkal tradition 4 Hebrews 11: j), and in Christian theology there is an 

ongoing understanding of faith as noi rating on such arguments, from Auguslinc to 

Anstkn, Pascal. Kierkegaard and Earth 

Beyond its impb'cations for the existence of nature's Designer, evolution is 
regarded by some to make implausible the very notion of purpose in or for nature 
itself. Djwfcina tamdiuly asserts (hat when the world is viewed through an evolu- 
tionary tens, there h. at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, 
nothing but blind, pitiless indifference' (199s: 133). The assertion of purposeicssncss 
can mean a number of different things, often conflated. At one level 'purpose' can 
sirnpfy mean the target-regubied behaviour of a functional system, and the legium- 
acy of such ideological language in the absence of a Designer is currently debated. 
though biologists speak of a traits proximal function and an organ's ultimate 
imess-cnhancing purpose. At a deeper level, (he purpose can email not just the 
functionality of evolutions organismk nOOn, but the aesthetic, moral, or sacred 
meaning-the rWcv in the play itself. Diwfcim vj cwa this notion a* a universal 
I J99* 96), and Hans Jonas observes that the Darwinian 'combination of 
tancc varuiwn and natural selection, completed the extrusion of ideotugy (mm 
utuK Hanng become redundant even ul the story of life, purpose retired whollv 
into subjectivity (1982:46). 




AI , deeper level siril. beyond purpose in the products or process of evolution 
,he.e b the question of purpose for evolution. As using a rock for a paperweight 
entails but is not inferable from propertied the rock. apat. r nifn kncmledgeof the 
agent employing it. so the question of purpene for the cosmos includes, but may not 
be answerable by. its evolutionary character alone. If God* purpose fur nature fa to 
pllim aie his pleasure, or glory, or that it shoutd culminate in beings who love and arc 
fowd by him. this remains a theological question. It may be informed by science but 
is iubverted by scienlistic concordism of both evolutionary materialist* and «*- 
ationisu CVrtfw Dawkiru. it may indeed make sense to ask if the cosmos ha* 
purpose, though il dors not make sens* for science to provide the aOswex Nor 
therefore, docs it make sense to defend purpose at the beachhead of design 

Contemporary responses to the above issues tend to enla.l three lands of ap- 

Supernatural Design: The Actors 

One approach involves the attempt to rehabilitate traditional design arguments by 
rejecting naturalistic evolutionary accounts for the origin of living organisms. Called 
intelligent design theory' by it* proponents and 'intelligent design ereationism by its 
critics, it is strictly speaking neither a theory (by virtue of explanatory consilience or 
JnutAKnessi, nor <reationism (by virtue of affirming the historicity of Genesis or 
other scriptural accounts of origins). In light of its histonographicaUy minimalist but 
crucial commitment to interventionist accounts of origins, il might best be regarded 
as intelligent design supcrnaturalism. 

There are three fundamental components 10 the intelligent design (ID) pro- 
gramme. Fkst, it argues that the question of whether something has been designed 
U whoUy legitimate and that it can be posed in a way that is rigorously formalizable. 
Second in tight of their claim that design hypotheses are ralsinablc by empirical data, 
and because disciplines such as anthropology, cryptography, and the Search for 
Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) routinely do so, ID proponents maintain that 
their endeavour ought rightly he called 'design science*. Third, ID asserts that there is 
adequate evidence for a design inference in the origin of life, based on the otplana 
lory failure of Darwinian accounts. 

These issues have been amply argued, including in this volume, but because so 
much of the debate has been primarily philosophical and scientific in focus, and so 
polemical in tone. I will make several mediating comments related to science- 
religion dialogue. First, the question of design has for centuries been, and surely 
stfll is, a legitimate one to ask. In principle attempts to rule out the very question 
from terious intellectual consideration noi only entail an appropriate opposition to 
ind-evoiutionism, but may also reflect a rejection by scientific reductionist of any 
kind of agency: there are those who strenuously argue that scientific naturalism in 
general, and the Darwinian algorithm in partuular. demands rejecting the notion 
tfc» intelligent agency exists .it all in nature, or if il does, thai it may be employed as 


an explanation <Cziko 199?}. On the other hand, IP's metlW ftw detecting design—. 
an *arp4analory filter' that concludes mat it something is not explainable by law or 
dunce, then n Is designed — ** flawed What ihi> el i mutative filter rulvi au\ , 
material cause, hence delecting not intelligent design, hut miracle?- or nipernatui 1 
(at lea^t immaterial) Agency. Even if we weir certain that something belonged m th c 
U*1 Jcvd 'and Hume's critique! apply CO such certainty). Ihc climinativc rather thin 
attributive operation of the rtltcr does not enable it to distinguish between genuine 
design and the undesigned products of a drunken demon tRatzsch MOlJ. In addition 
in scientifically problematic false positives there are theologically troublesome fake 
negative*.. Bcv-iu^ a design inference requires inrcmntionbt abridgement of natural 
processes it rs incapable of detecting design m natural processes, If there is .■ c ..-, .,. iL 
Dcsijmrr, he must occasionally break the rules by pulling cards from his pocket and 
insinuating them intu the deck of nature, rather than providentially arranging the 
deck for winning hands in a fairly dealt game ( Dcmhski 2001; Murray 2003, 2006; sec 
Chapters 42 and 4;; below I. 

und. inviting that the question of design lie calfed science — given the conten- 
tious polarisation by the politics of what is taught in American public schools— 
ironically distracts and sabotages open discussion of the question itself. There are no 
a priori reasons for rejecting the possibility thai the cosmos contains divinely created 
entities dial are incapable of having arisen by natural means alone. If so. it k 
reasonable to expect that it would fee durtiriguishjble from a counterpart universe 
without such things f Hawkins 300$). Whatever the enterprise is called (and there is 
appreciable warrant for iusi calling it metaphysics K the outcome of such discussion is 
presumably important to both science and theology {Dawkins 2005: Mantinga 1991). 
Insistence that it cither be authorized as science or delegmmated as religion is 
counterproductive to both enterprises. 

Moreover, proposing a Creator as a scientific conclusion may actually constrain 
ihc potential contribution of theology to science. It" design' were posited not as a 
theologically untainted inference from gaps in natural regularities, but as a starting 
a»urrrption explicitly' informed by theological understandings of purpose, ii could 
serve as a wdl spring of invesugable hypotheses about aspects of the natural world 
that themselves have been compressed to fit reducficnistic pre -commitments; e.g. the 
nature of altruism, morality, religious belief, and evolutionary progress. 

Third, and most contested, is the claim that irreducible complexity UCi— a 

runctK>naJ system that requires all its parrs jrs order to function at ail— cannot be 

explained by Darwinian mechanisms and therefore attests to ID. Other than identi 

he seminal logical error of conflating a system that lose* all function by an) 

ibtrachon with a system that cannot have arisen by successive functional addition, I 

will not review the debates over the IC cfciim. 

Of course the ID agenda provokes standard debates over God of the ^ 
thmking and interventionist understandings of divine action, debates which, intel- 
lectual fashion notwithstanding, themserve* reflect metaphysical questions of causal 
ommuity that are far from folly titled But underlying the IC - ID debate is also* Usue of divine htstorio^phy. On the one hand, H ; its God leaping 

over historical constraints to create things fully formed. On the other hand, numer. 
OUi posit no need for divine interaction in history, given the fundamental premiss of creations fully endowed formational resources Ivan Till 19961. 
What both extremes do not address b the profound ambiguity of a creation thai - 
ncr sufficiently endowed tor historical development that averts tragic incomplete 
QMS, but does not magically leap over finttude to attain its destiny by divine 
ir.n.MH.ation. The persistent biblical notion is that God'* grace transforms history 
redernptively, yet at every point ia embedded in and somehow subject to the 
constraints of history. This mystery is profoundly enriched, though far from folly 
funded, by the evolutionary perspective of an unfolding cosmic history. 

Fine-Tuning: The Stage 

An alternative response to design has been to affirm fully that living organisms, the 
tons' in the evolutionary play, have arisen through natural regularities described by 
Darwin, But the prerequisites for biological evolution— the extraordinary precision 
of the ph)*ical-ehcmical 'stage'—syggest that the cosmos has been designed to 
support the evolutionary drama. Such arguments do not posit abridgement? of 
(dentine laws, but maintain that the finely tuned character of nature's endowments 
requires, or at least suggests, an underlying intelligence- 
There are two approaches to this line of thinking. One emphasizes fine-tuning of 
the *ece^v conditions for the origin ofiife. Cosmological fine-tuning maintains 
that the fundamental physical constants of the universe could not be minutely 
different from what they are for life to be possible (Barrow and Tipler 1948). 
Biochemical arguments emphasize the unusual fitness of the pre-biotk chemical 
environment to support life (Barrow t -r aL 2006). Geological perspectives claim that 
the pSanetary conditions necessary to support intelligent life arc unusually rare 
(Ward and Brownlee 2003). 

A second approach emphasizes the sufficient conditions to nwke likely, even 
inevitable, something like the evolutionary history we have (Conway Morris 2004^ 
Such a perspective challenges assertions of radical contingency that depict evolu- 
tionary history as a drunken stumble, which, if repeated innumerable times, would 
never wander into this point again (Gould 19^6), While 'sufficiency' arguments are 
consistent with the notion that a historical trajectory for evolution is providentially 
'built in* to nature, this does not entail the stronger claim that evolurion itself is 
purposive. Directional inevitability is not teleology. 

AJi of these ideas involve providential deck-stacking' rather than interventionist 
'double-dealing' approaches to design. And for all, design represents a possible 
metaphysical implication, but is not invoked as a scientific explanation. All are also 
vigorously debated, though disagreement tends to emphasise ihc plausibility of 
divergent accounts rather than reciprocal charges of sciences conspiratorial hijacking 
by ideology. The ambiguous regress of chinas and counterclaims may itself reflect the 
Pascaiian affirmation of 'two opposite truths' with which this chapter began: 'All 

appearance indicates neither j tcrtafcxcluikin nor J manifest prmrcc of divinity, fan 
the presence of a Ood who hides himself, everything bear* this character" : 90 j 

Evolutionary Theology: The Play 

The above approaches focus on design of the actors or stage, but do not .id drew the 
plot or purpose of the p!ay itself. Many post-Darwinian rheofogre* attempt just rh at, 
.Michael .Ruse (3$0?) observes that Uirwin did not actually denioli&h natural thc- 
ologv, but his wurk HSldUxl En Efac focuB BhifdQg irtnii the <.»sten>:hiy ^.-".^-iU 
jndaat of evolution to the progressive pf<xc*$ of evolution. But there was also a 
general shift in approach, away from theology to theology of nature inter- 
preting the theological meaning «f natural history rather than inferring God's 
existence or j I tributes as a causal explanation tor natural history. 

There is a continuum even within theolop : nature. On the one hand, the 
Parthian eschewal of natuxaJ theology modestly affirms thai creation can provide 
parables of the Kingdom 1 . A homelv example may be C S- LeWs observation thai 
nature cannot teach us that God is glorious* but that, having learned that elsewhere, 
ic can furnish image* of glory (Lew i960). On the other hand others^indudnie 
recent evolutionary cognitive theories of supernatural agent attribution (Atrnn 
2004J — affirm that nature does 'leach' or directly evoke religious intuitions. The 
primordial experience is. The heavens declare the glory of God', by Hay not of design 
argument* bui oflundamrntal perception. 

This continuurn exists in interpreting the evolutionary process. As mentioned at 
tine beginning of the chapter Und unrelated to finc-Tuning.), the vers- fact that the 
cosmos has the marvellous capacity 10 generate life is taken to reflect the immense 
intelligence and benevolence of a God who extravagantly endows creation. Richard 
DflMkmf observes thai if there wen an intelligence underlying die algorithmic 
process that generates bfokigkal complexity, it would have lo be massively more 
complex than the sum total of all the products themselves (Dawkins 1986: 141). For 
this very reason he parsimoniously meets God, as explaining ■precisely nothing". But 
evolutionary theology does not concimitGad's existence as an explanation of nature's 
endowments. Having learned thai elsewhere', n views nature as reflecting his provi- 
dence and wisdom. ID advocate Philip Johnson aitidxes this as merely putting a 
thastk spin an the story provided by nwtcrialisnV f 2000: 100). Such a view ironically 
affirms the scicntistk premiss that meaning is just a gloss over the ultimate, reductive 
f of how matter behaves. Evolutionary theology in general ( in fact, common 
spenencej rejects ihtv in recopnmng meaning as a tietpcr undemanding of. not a 
mere varnish on. the cosmos. 

The discussion doesn't stop at natures fecund production of actors, though. It 

* on to reflect theologically on die plot of the play, primarily in two ways. I irst, 

Acre is a mdnion that proposes theological significance for evolutionary prat* 

CRuse iWlPrpgrm is more than mere direct locality, entailing change in a valued 

I>.soemuig progress thus involves empirical questions of evolutionary 

RV " r AN " RBUGious AELier 201 

BBld. and subjective ciucstions of valued ends. Given the theological implications 
Md «Kfcm.bte social misuse of the progress idea, to ^y f Mmi £ b £ n • . 
«Bl! opposed: Process is a noxious, culturally embedded, unstable, minopera- 
Hofijl, intractable idea that must be replaced if we wish to understand evolution trv 

U, evolutionary explanation, given sufficient constraints on possibility „»« and a 
gifted Kt Of evaluative criteria, .1 is no, true thai progress u .mractable. I, turn, 
out empirically that a cancellation of iwnomfc and life history traits has increased 
overcvohjuonarytime: species diversity, trophic depth, homeo* a tk control, sensory 
Bfitdtf, behavioural and locomotor freedom, various measure* of complexity at 
cclluUr. organismal, and social levels, body ma, s and lifespan, per capita parental 
investment, and capacity for imersubjective awareness and interorganismal attach- 
ment Hans Jonas (1962) refers to this as an increase j n bknfc po 1cnc) . Lnvu | ving a 
deepening of organismal teleology, or an "ascent of soul". Even without the interpret- 
ive metaphors, by widespread standards of value— including those posited by 
Darwin hrmsdf— this trajectory constitutes progress- Moreover, it is not just 
narrowly anthropomorphic or rihnocentrk, but truly bioceniric one could say 
lhar evolution emails a process by which the cosmos might have life, and have it 

True and even beautiful though this is, the observation can be theologically 
saccharine if il fails to recognize the profound ambiguity of this kind of "progress 1 . 
What increases is potency, not goodness. Conflation of the two mav even reflect the 
dernonk. With increased potency or deepened organistnal tch$ comes heightened 
capacity for fulfilment uW tragedy, for (moral or natural) goodness and evil 

A further, riskier step is to suggest that the ambivalent contrasts of such progress 
reflect a larger purpose, a reason behind or beneath the evolutionary drama itself. 
That reason, or fete, according to many evolutionary theologians working in the 
process tradition, is 'the maximizing of cosmic beauty' (Haught 2000: 130). This rW<» 

emphatically consonant wish the evolutionary pageant, while comprehending its 
disparate contrasts within a unifying rubric of beauty. But it enlails a comparable if 
Ml graver moral ambiguity, being a mere reformulation of the progress ethic in 
aesthetic terms, along with the concomitant magnification of the hideous. Moreover, 
it risks deriving notions of divine purpose and human hope from the extrapolation 
of nature's trajectory, rather than revelatory promise of its redemption. 

An alternative approach, to invoke a distinction made at ihe beginning of this 
section, affirms that there is a purpose /br evolution, but no disi-erntMc purpose tn 
evolution. The evolutionary story or 'narrative character of nature" (Haught looy. 
67) is not. in the last analysis, a drama that can be read for theological instruction. 
The nature or existence of a divine purpose fur the cosmos, involving the reconciling 
of all things to Cod, k not discernible by science or by theological reflection on the 
evolving world that science illuminates. But this does not mean that, 'having learned 
purpose eLsewhcre*. we cannot both understand this world in terms of Gods pur- 
poses and enrich our understanding of these purposes in light of the evolving world 
they engage. One way to view this u that what is beinc maximized as evolution 

amplifies life is precisely ambiguity— the unresolved intensity of life'* precarious 
tdconomic perch between dcMrny and tragedy (lona? i^fi* 3. Thi* entail* an intrinMc 
esralatioti en neither goodness, nor beauty,, nor love, but in the capacity — *nd ( n< . 
need — to be saved by and for all ehrcf. 

Evolutionary Evil 


. "icumi ANE> RELIGIOUS ft! 


.Ambiguity i% odc thing. Straight out, unmitigated evil is .mother. 

The evolutionary pruccuiMitc »i;h happen Maine, comin^ncy, incredible wasie.drath.p.jjt]. 

and horror.... Whatever the God implied by cvotolwiur) theory -<nd ihe dj»a of natural 

Dory TiJiy be like. He is not. ..a loving God — Careless, wasteful, indifferent,, almott 

diabolical He h certainly WH the son f Cod To whom anyone would be inclined to prav. 

HuB 1991: *f 

Ol course, two thing* are going on in this prototype passage: iatcrprctive natural 
history and theological reflection. It is not entirely clear which drives which, but I 
want 10 comment briefly on each insofar as they represent crucial issues in evolution 

and religion. 

With respect to natural history, three things arc salient first, what a mysterious, 
anguishing but undeniable irony it is that the same world that gives rise to this 
invective also inspires 'a grandeur in this view of life— often in the same person. 
Nature red in tooth and daw is also green in bloom and bough; fecund, vital, 
extravagant, lender, beautiful. We are back to ambiguity again, and Pascals opposite 
truths. Second, in what demonstrable sense are the above descriptors 'true'? A 
number of them— contingency, waste, horror— arc judgements that reflect assump- 
tions about, rather than suggest answers to, metaphysical question*. To choose one, 
distinguishing between waste and. on ilKonehand tavufaauss, and on the other hand 
efficiency. ** question of tckology— requiring knowledge of what something is "for! 
"Hunk of all ihose waves, (at ail those centuries, just going to waste' comments the 
surf movie Endim Summer upon discovering the perfect wave" in South Africa 
Every work of an is every engineer's waste. But even from an engineers perspective, 
nature's economy wastes virtually nothing, and selection can be seen as an entrepre- 
neurial innovator, continually replacing slackers, (Ironically, who would warn 10 pray 
loan et&kncy expert God cither? OlisiveoppositesiWcplaycdthefiutcandyoLidid 
not dance-, we sang a dirge and you did not mourn; No God read directly from fa 
ted of nature is the loving God of biblical faith.) 

Third, and most important, is ihe issue of natural evil actually posed of exacer- 
bated by tinhorn, as opposed to being a feature of the world independent of 
evolutionary process? This is not to minimize the profound theological problem .•! 
natural evil, but to question in hght of this volume V focus whether it is coupled in 

jny meaningful way to Ihe scientific iheory of evolution. | n fact, it may represent an 
empt by atheology to piggyback on the cultural authority of science, analogous to 
wrc jTionLsm. At one level the answer is easy: the sum total of all the death in the world 
precisely one per creature. This is the case whether evolution is true or false, and it 
d,d not take Darwin to make it into a theological btw M j deeper level, though, it la 
not the magnitude but rather the role of death and competition thai seems to change 
profoundly in light of Darwinian theory, The vexation b Chat they represent not pest 
hoc impositions on. but ihe very driving force of, creation. Dark art indeed. But not 
quite $0 frst. Death actually is po*i hoc— temporally and ontologiealty subsequent to 
life. And evolution's driving force is not death, but variation and differential repro- 
duction, which would exist even for immortal creatures with unlimited resources. In 
the last analysis, the problem is the ancient enemy— not evolution, but death itself. 
And it is possible that evolution may even heEp furnish a theodicy, by revealing a 
creative grace that brings value out of struggle. 

This ihen brings us 10 ihe theological question of a loving God behind evolution. 

On the one hand, evolution does noi seem to raise the stakes of natural evil. In tact. 

coupling the issue to the dilemma of extinct biota, parasiioid wasps, and 'millions of 

perm' that never get to fertilize an egg (Hull 1991) does seem to be straining at gnats. 

or rather gametes and hymenopEera, while camels of monstrous twentkuVccntury 

evil arc on the hoof. On the other hand, docs evolution challenge existing theodieies* 

tt clearly obviates the idea that death entered the world by Adam's sin. but that 

Augustinian notion has hardly been a central theodicy in biblical tradition. Along 

those lines, one can still invoke demonic evil, and the carnage of evolution could even 

be viewed as the casualities of epic spiritual warfare ( nber more profound theodicics 

■•oul making, necessary evil, divine kenosisor hiddenness, eschaiological redcrnp 

■11. incarnation?] co-suffering— however adequate or inadequate— are all coherent 

in lifcht of evolution In fact, each one is enriched hy the notion of a hUioricaly 

constrained yet indeterminate, incrementally evolving biotic intensification. 

Finally, evolution may itself be something of a resource for theodicy, First, the 
Gospel's affirmation is ihat in God 1 * cruciform economy he graciously turns death to 
life. This is true of ihe Resurrection, of the redemption that COOKS from the cross, 
even of biiogeochemical cycling and of the evolutionary process. Nor that we learn the 
principle of redemption from evolution, but having learned it elsewhere, we see it 
there — as and allegorical history. Second, while evolution docs not increase the 
amount of suffering, in another sense it certainly increases its depth. To die very 
extent that living beings have ends, and seek and desire their attainment, and seme 
(and in humans know) their loss, there is suffering. The capacity for such suffering 
increase* with the evolutionary intensification oforganismic tckonomy or biotic 
depth. But to be able to choose Such a loss, on behalf of a more valued end. ushers in 
an ascendance of regulatory and then volitional potency— the more agency, ihe more 
capacity to >ufler kiss for greater gain — that culminates over the evolutionary process 
jn precisely the capacity to love. It is not clear what lute would mean if ihcre could 
Dcvti be a costly gift on k'h.ili of the beloved. The same b true of worship. Davul 
says, 7 will noi offer to the Lord that which costs me not hi nut* ( 1 Chroa at: aa>. It i%, at 

v* i>r. it v v 


the same rime, this evxilvcd. autonomous capacity to relinquish or experience c 
that also JJowsuslo receive: Nicholas of Qitn (1988:692) gratefully ponder*, \\ t)M 
could you gire yourself lo nx\ ttnkM jtMI had first given me to myself >' 


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New Science, Old Relationships 

Ecology is one of the newer branches of the life sciences. Along with gcretics, it* 
origin as a formal field of study Lies in the nineteenth century, but its academic 
development and expansion are products of the twentieth century, particularly the 
period following the Second World Wax Such biological giants as Charles Darwin, 
Alfred Wallace, and Alexander von Humboldt investigated the relationship* between 
organisms and their environments well before the German zoologist Emsi Huccfcei 
coined the term 'ecology" in 1&66. Hacckel adopted the Greek word ottos, meaning 
economy, household or dwelling (Smith and Smith 2001: 3) A staunch defender of 
Darwin. Haeckel originally described ecology as: 

the economy of nature— the investigation of the total relations of the animal I* both fu 
inorganic and organic environment; including above all. its friendly and inimical relation* 
with those animals and plant* with which it comes directly and indirectly in contact— in a 
«rord, ecology is the study of ail tho*e complex interrelations referred to hv Darwin as the 
condition* of the struggle for existence. (Quoted in Golley 1993: ii. 207) 

Today, ecology may be defined as 'the study of the relationship between organism* 
and their physical and biological environments < rihrhch and Rnughgardcn. 1987: j), 
or in terms of its scientific function; Ecology worb at characterizing (he pattern* 
teen in nature, studying the complex interactions among organisms and ibeir 
environments, and understanding the mechanisms invoked in biological diversity' 
(Smith and Smith 2001; 3), Contemporary ecology incorporates numerous sub-riclds 

such as ecosystem, population, community, landscape,, behavioural, aqua, 
tfcj and terrestrial ecology. 

Non-specialist* often confute ecology with environmental science, or wen with 
environmental managerm i1 id politics, Ecology csrplicielv investigates the inter- 
action of biolic systems with their environment. Many professional volume** on 
'ecology and religion' arc actually framed Around environmental science — an applied 
discipline, integrating hiokigy with geology, chemistry, oceanography, and atmos- 
pheric science, in the study of human impacts on the earth*? physical and biotk 
systems. This chapter wfll Jrrst cover religious interaction with ecological phenomena 
prior lo or independently of ihc rise of modem life science- The second half wjQ 
investigate the past two centuries of religious interaction with the development of 
ecological thought tn the Euro American context, and will conclude with a brief 
survey of the Ijlsi quarter-century of ecological and environmental science dialogue 
with world religions. 

Religion as a Reservoir of Ecological 


The worlds religions have historically served as important cultural reservoirs of 
ecological understanding. Religious myths and rituals order and convey information 
about the geography and availability of natural resources, the behaviour of important 
food species Or of predators, and the habitats and properties of plants. Although 
religious traditions ofrt»n eflopbai&e species or features with con- 
sumptive valor; such as salmon, bison, or dependable springs, the worlds diversity of 
neligkra* an and myth contains myriad accounts of species not directly utilized by 
humanv Religion appreciates the ecological roles of organisms of link Caloric 
importance, such as ravens and eagles, and utilizes these creatures to symbol etc 
natural processes, Religious rituals often imitate nature. The buffalo dances of the 
Native American peoples depict bison behaviour and movements. Myths about 
salmon, with their associated religious art including totem and mortuary poles, 
describe not just the migratory patterns, but also the relationships of salmon to 
other species, such as seals, bear*, and orcas. A first area of interaction between 
religion and ecological science, therefore, is the study of how religions investigate 
process, and express ecological reality. 

Creation myths and religious cosmologies frequently incorporate detailed ac- 
counts of regional environments and ecological processes. The first two chapters of 
s ire relatively short and abstract, for example, in comparison lo a Hawaiian 
creation chant called the Kumulipa. which begins with a hot earth, in recognition of 
volcaimm as the source oi tsbnd formation. In the Kwmdipo, the first creature born 


lpt the divine pair of primary deities, Kamidipo and Wefe is ihe coral polyp I H 
«pKSse* nor evoluuonary order hut thereof coral a* akeystone specie cn.ical to 
*tdta«y of sea l.fc around the islands The chant «*,«• to devote line, to 
pairs of invertebrates, includmg starfish, sea cucumber*, barnacles oysters mussels 
limpets and mother -of-pearl. The sea urchins, identified as a tribe, divide into short ' 
.piked. rmooth, long spiked, reshaped, and thin-spiked. The second individual 
iong m the chant name* the major fishes and the third names the birds and flyine 
insects, the fourth the crawlers, such as uinlcs and lobsters, the fifth the d^crs who 
cultivate the land, and the sixth the nibbles including the Polynesian rat fBrdcwiih 
mi: ^8»- The whole is an impressive species inventory, particularly of the ihofiow 
r«f. The chant classifies organisms by similarity in form and habitat. Ihe audience 
for the creation story could presumably recognize far more specie, than the chant 
honours. The KumuKpo, however, reinforces the importance of dKtinguishing among, 
related species, encourages learning the composition of each habitat, and announces 
that the biodiversity of the islands is primal and bask. 

Indigenous Religion Regulating 
Environmental Management 

Rciigious coda or laws and taboos can dictate ecologically sound management 
strategies for regional ecosystems. The Oregon country Indians of the American 
Paanc Northwest moderated salmon harvest via strict observance of usufruct rights 
lo designated Stretches of streams and rivers and limited fishing in these territories to 
specific kin groups. Myths extolled the necessity of respect'. Examples are the story of 
a magic trap, which filled itself so effectively that its owner, often the trickster Capote, 
could not keep up. and. unable to cook the salmon, cursed the trap. Both the trap and 
the salmon disappeared. Narratives of murdered salmon regenerated from a single 
egg or from bones emphasise the importance of reproduction and the natural cycles 
replenishing the salmon populatioru (Lee 1993; Taylor 1999: 30-1; Lichaiowich 1999c 
Scarce 2000). 

Many of the Oregon country tribes held first-salmon ceremonies, as the salmon 
runs began, During a period which might extend for more than two weeks, religious 
rit«a| and taboo constrained salmon harvest to only those fish that coukl be 
immediately consumed during the festival. The Tillamook prescribed 
cutting to prepare a single fish for the headman, who ate it all except the bones 
and the blood. They then burned the remains and returned them to the river in a 
disposal ceremony. The ritual sequence recognizes the importance of salmon repro- 
duction and the regenerative properties of the salmon carcasses. Functionally, the 
first-Fish ceremony allows for escapement and spawning for a portion of the run 

<Tayfor T9»p: 27-3*). Scientific ecological uudy has found that the defying ParJI 
salmon, dying after spawning, provide critical inputs to support aquatic fewd chains. 
which m turn feed luvcrulc salmon. The inigraiorv nfanon transport nutrients such 
as phosphorus from the sea *nd .ictuativ fertilize the flood plain forests of coastal 
rivers (McClain ei at 1^ 

llie Indians of Oregon country Pi Of technologically sophisticated fchermen, who 
depkivcd poisons, weirs, seines, and traps as well as giJInels. Hardly benign, iheir 
melhinl". were a| potentially eflcetive as those of the industrialized tkhitig industry, 
and thev harvested a high proportion of the salmon runs. Yet, unlike the 'scienriti L 
fisheries management' of the industrial era. which has been impotent in ihe face of 
intense exploitation ot the salmon and other riparian resources, such as hydropowo, 
aboriginal stewardship effectively balanced harvest with natural production. Envir- 
onmental historian Joseph Taylor (199$) concludes that the Indians superior spatial 
arganfration with families and salmon chiefs monitoring individual wau-rshedsand 
breeding rites, Ed combination with religions effective in constraining capture and 
consumption, resulted in a sustainable fishery. Shared myth* and ceremonies teach- 
ing practical ecology to entire societies encouraged, communal co-operation and 
environmental restraint* and also co-ordinated entire villages into simultaneous 
activity, including critical Abstinence from fishing for a set lime or in specific locales. 

Deities as Personifications of 
Ecological Processes 

.1.- ... - 1 , 

Even when ecologically astute, myths and religious explanations do not function as 
scientific reporting does. Myths are a reservoir of insights ibout human behaviour, 
and often serve as templates for cultural responses to social issues. Compared to 
Mriontifk reporting, myth and religious explanations for ecological phenomena do 
change through lime, but they arc often conservative, incorporating new knowledge 
or drcumstances slowly. Myths frequently retain images whose meaning is lost at 
modified, and may attribute natural disasters to human causes, such as violations of 
community taboos, which modern science would hold to be unrelated to natural 
phenomena Despite the potential limitations of conveying complex and sometimes 
obscure cultural meamn^. myth and religious ritual can be accurate metaphors for 
erwjiwimentaJ processes of importance to humans. 
Deities, spirits, and mythic | K j ng5 art frequently personifications of natural 
■■>. -mima „ mnmttrfae ihe mbgkari 01 ailmraBy importini Dora a 
fauna. K«BMr* tt'a, th c Hjk.uub wpenrntoid being who i% hair pig and half god, i< 1 
hitter capable of turning himself into not just a boar, but into a fish and 
vinous plant*. His legends describe him rooting like a wild hog, while also conveying 

pnHtfok for ntuaJ iacrinceof hogs and other secies. He court* the volcano goddess 
I „. «bo lAuft him with fountain* of flame. Assayed with mto. KarLpuV , 
tfsreaten* to douse PelCS nte* with precaution, and seeks the aid of hh sister, who 

IM fc fop an J rain. An army of hogs overrun Pele's domain, and the fiery enter fills 
with water. The pig-god Then has his way with Pdc, and ihey divide ihe ishnd of 
Hawaii into two regions she takes the leeward or dry si de, ^d he ukes ihe windward 
or wet side, with its rainforest and prime hog habitat {Beekwirh 1970- 203-11) 
Embedded in the legend is an ecoJcgkally perceptive description of vegetation 
recovery after volcanic disturbance and of the relationship of the trade winds and 
tcpograpny to vegetation. Human style courtship becomes a metaphor for the 

[fractions between vo-lcantsm and the oceanic climate, and rice versa. 71k myth 
*ho contains a lesson about keeping potentially destructive pig populations at hay 

The legends <if Kanupua'a and Pclc describe the behaviour of natural hazards, such 
as Uva flows, in an oral culture, this b a dependable way to remember' I immon 
but high-intensity environmental disturbances. When pursued by his stepfather 
Obptna and a band of armed warrior*. Karaapua'a jams his koa-wood canoe into 

Alton above a waterfall in one of the steep valley* of the pab\ or ceniral mountain 
rtdgc of O'ahu. Trie water stops flowing downstream and builds up behind the canoe, 
: d Olopanas puzzled followers, not grasping the clanger, continue pursuit up the 
stream course. When Kanupuaa removes the canoe, a flash flood runs down the 
narrow gorge and destroys the oblivious warriors (Thompson 190*: afi-i:; Bedcwith 
Ltfa 203-O) In ecological reality, natural logjams and landslides may hold back 
water after heavy rains. The channelling of precipitation in the narrow valleys can 
also send a lethal torrent raging downstream. Hiking tourists, unramfliar with the 
legends of Kamapuaa, have been kilted in the resulting flash floods, whereas a 
Hawaiian would be wary of the steep-sided valleys. Kamapuaa the trickster reflects 
the capricious aspect of day-today environmental processes. 

loday field ecclogists, ethnographers, and environmental planners arc giving 
greater consideration to the role of regional and indigenous religions in interpreting. 
and managing environmental resources, Traditional knowledge embedded in religion. 
such as an understanding of the pharmaceutical properties of plant species or the long- 
term fluctuations in salmon runs, may be difficult to replace. Further, indigenous 
environmental management informed by religious tradition is usually sustainable, 
whereas modern scientific management often fails to balance harvest with ecosystem 
or population productivity, thereby resulting in serious environmental degradation 

Ecological Instruction in Sacred Texts 

Although sometimes inaccurately viewed as unecolugicaT world religion* valuing 
preservation and study of sacred tests also document ind interpret ecological 

phenomena. The Hebrew Scriptures, foundational to hid a ism and Christianity. rcu , r , f 
the interactions of a culture based on herding And Huagc With an upland landscape 
characterised h\ unpredictable rains and easily credible soil*. In order to farm pro- 
ductively, the ancient Hebrews. OOV&VCtfd cisterns w retain precious water and built 
croMoncrintrol terraces from the loose Mont- of the shallow soils. It one terrace failed. 
the resulting dump of soil and rock could wash out the terraces below it. This method 
of farming thus relied on a high degree of community co-operation, and w^ vulner- 
bk to disruption during periods of social disorder, such as wars and invasions, 
Although the Hebrew Scriptures do not contain explicit directions for maintaining 
ihc*r erosion -control structures, perhaps because the methods were common know- 
ledge, the texts mention the terraces numerous Times and have explicit regulations tor 
cue of fields and gi ft c farfs . Isaiah 5 describes the destruction transpiring in the 
vineyards when the hedges are removed and the fences arebroken IritllcE 1991: 915-302). 
Leviticw and Exodus outline the laws of agricultural 'neighbourliness', including 
instructions to leave Ehe comers of the fields untitled so as to provide for widows, 
orphans, and wildlife, and allow a seventh-year rest for agricultural fields as a 
practical response 10 the need for renewal in shallow upland soils (Waskow 2000; 
Wirzba 2001; Brurggemann 2002). The biblical laws, not unlike the first- fish festival. 
CsO tor Lommunity co-operation trf prevent ecological disaster. Numerous pa.ssjee^ 
in the Book of Proverbs admonish individuals, including farmers, not to he greedy 
and to begin new enterprises slowly in order to discourage expanding flocks or farm 
fields in response to years of high rainfall, in anticipation of the inevitable yean of 
link rain and much lower productivity (Bratton 2003), The Genesis story of Joseph 
and rm brothers warns of the potential consequences of extended drought, and 
teaches the value of leaving supplies in reserve* as well as of sharing. The Hebrew 
Scriprures rarely anthropomorphic animals, yet their celestial god. who rides the 
storm clouds and releases the rains, personifies the ever-present issue of inadequate 
and fluctuating precipitation. Today, religious practitioners as diverse as Jewish 
vuairiets. Mennonite dairy farmers. Dutch Reformed truck gardeners, and Cathnk 
nuns engage in gleaning' for the poor turn to the Hebrew Scriptures for guidance 
concerning sustainable management of agricultural ecosystems. 

Mam, as a religion guided by sacred texts, has carefully considered the manage- 
ment of duTeneni classes of land and water resources. Islamic law not only distin- 
guishes between rivers, springs, and wells, but also recognizes that the usage of large 
natural and perpetually flowing rivers should be differentiated from that of smaller 
river*, those rivers that must be dammed to supply water, and artificial canals and 
irrigation ditches (Dutton 1992). The concept of hhna regulates unowned lands, 
conserving them for the common good. Aside from the basic ethical principles set 
forth in the Quran, the Muslim tradition of environmental regulation rdieson the 
opinion* and analysis of imams and other forms of Islamic jurisprudence (Llewellyn 
03). The efficacy of the Islamic management may be observed in the rich and 
diverse Muslim cultures developing in regions where lack of precipitation » a 
constant threat to agriculture, as well as in moister tropical climates where fields 
may be flooded periodically. 

■ uuLUOY »vn 


Historic Western Religious Values and 


Scenttfk ecotogy arose ma Luro-American cor, t „t in which ChtWitto was the 
doming religion. t.Wcsl Greek and Roman. Islamic and Jewish' scholars 
have, however, all left their mark on ecology"* precursor, natural historv. Through 
the medieval period Christian, imitated the approaches of ancient authors such as 
Aristotle and Pliny the Elder, who chujjkd biological phenomena such at ihe 
feeding habits of sea urchins. Influenced by Islamic science following the Christum 
congest of Muslim Spam in the eleventh century, Christian proto-sdence began to 
, I increasingly on careful observation (Undberg m - 180-2- Grant 199* 3*4) The 
fascination with natural form is evident in the great outpouring of organic reabsm in 
Gothic sculpture. At Rhcims Cathedral. built around 1230. for example, a diverse 
local flora of more than thirty recognizable species crowns the capitals and doorways 
and implies that peaceful, organic growth supports the great projects of God 
(Camille 1096: 134-5). 

From its beginnings in the first century ce, Christianity valued natural metaphor 
in its art and literature Paul Santmire dug* 3M3>. however, documents an early 
tension in Christian cosmology. He argue* that Irenacus U.ijq-ioo) was very 
affirming of the Christian rdationship with nature by his invocation of crration 
history as one work of God, whereas Origen foife-254). by emphasizing the 
unchanging One. (kxl. dwelling above in eternity, surrounded bv a world of rational 
spirits', demotes the cosmos to a secondary theological concern and prompts Chris- 
tian alienation from nature. As this dialogue continued into the Middle Age*, 
St Bonaventure (1221-74) presented a 'fecund' triune God who diffuses eternal 
goodness and divine life into the creation, whale St Francis of Assist (1182-1226) 
extended Christian charity and love to the 'towiy creatures; treating them as brothers 
and sisters before God (Santmire 19S5: 97-119)- Historian of ideas Clarence Glackcn 
(1067: 353-43*) identifies the early modern period as dominated by physic©- theology, 
which assumes that the Earth was planned or designed by God. The scientific 
investigation of nature was therefore a beneficial exercise in exposing and admiring 
God's perfect order. At the same time, museums with zoological and botanical 
collections began to appear in European cities and. along with the budding univer- 
sities, stimulated the formal study of nature (Moore 1993; 69-76); These activities 
were congruent with the theology of Reformers such as John Catvin. who praised the 
cosmos as God's most beautiful theatre in which every natural object had an 
appointed place and function. The environment demonstrated God's "power, good- 
ness, wisdom and eternity" {Santmire 19S* 12S). 

These concepts of divine order emigrated with Christian* to the America*. Colo- 
nic Puritan leader Cotton Mather found thai natural theology supported the 
practice and the advance of science. The student of nature followed the Footsteps 
of a Deity in all the Works of Nature; and could 'by the Scale of Nature ascend to the 

Codd Naiuu-: Disuutring God's LiwiiUidobscmng natural features and processes 
strengthened rather than threatened one's faith (StoJI Foi perhaps the 

greatest of all colonial American lhedoe,iarv Imathan Edwards, 'the infinite fullness 
of God led inevitably lo the emanation of GXcBmCf, beauty, happiness and know- 
ledge of himself |God] m the creation of the world". Edward himself look long 
mrdrlahve walks in natural settings, thus engaging in the practice of reading the 
symbolic language of naiune and the emanation of ihc divine in the cosmos to belter 
grasp the universal truth of God (Svofl 19973 Sj-}). 

like doctors, lawyer*, and teachers, Enlightenment clergy composed nature 
journals- pressed plants, or listed regional bird species. Gilbert White, an eighteenth- 
century Anglican curate Vcpt a nature journal recording ihe daily events in ihc 
isthcrn English countryside. In The Natural History &f Scibontc (1789) White 
observed and recorded foraging and nesting behaviour of bards such a* 
the blue titmouse and the 1 and determined the feeding preferences of 

hedgehogs. He accumulated specie* hsls uliJi/uig Carol us Linnacuss newly 
developed Latin binomial nomenclature (G. While 19*5)- Although this is not yet 
1 ntific ecology, the careful notation of range and habitat, the recognition of ihc 
dilTrrcniial roles or niches of individual species, and ihe explanation of regional 
bSotic dirersitj nc necessary precursors to the extraction of ecological principles. 
William Banram. a botanist and eighteenth-century Friend, or Quaker, explored the 
Cherokee and Creek territories of the southern Appalachians. His sophisticated 
descriptions of vegetation in relation to topography still provide useful history 
documentation of biota. Bartram wroie in the introduction le> his journals {192S: 
This world, as a glorious apartment of the boundless palace of the sovereign 
Creator, is famished with an infinite variety of animated scenes, inexpressibly 
beautiful and pleasing, equally free lo the inspection and enjoyment of all his 

Romanticism and Transcendentalis 


With its emphasis on the contemplation of nature as providing religious or 
philosophical insights, nineteenth-century Romanticism countered Enlightenment 
reduoionism and peittption of nature as mechanical or comprised of dissociated 
dements. Although many Romantics were relatively mainstream Christians or 
evvs. others investigated pantheism or sought a unified spirit in nature. During 
the nineteenth century, Hindu and Buddhist religious lexts began to appear fa 
European-language editions. Henry David Thoreau was familiar with Ihe A%- 
avajgitu and, with Ralph Waldo Emerson, translated Eugene Burtipuf s French 
language scholar.^ en Buddhism into English (Hodder 2001: 143-5, »77* 
rhe Trarucendenlalist world-view was based on the more ancient concept of 



correspondence. The human community it a ooaB microcosm within a much 
greater macrocosm or the transcendent domain of nature. The ultimacv of ihc 
great cosmos infer* that there is a law implicit in the scheme of things, 1 Control- 
ling, providence, a natural or moral raw that unfolded in ihe very order that live 
cosmos represented' (Albancse 1988: *i 1. 

Hurnanticism and Transcendentalism perceived nature as highly dynamic and 
wbiect to change through deep time. The English painter f. M W. Turner chose 
avalanches in the Alps and converging currents at sea as his subjects, invoking ihe 
chaos of nature lo reflect the deeper meaning of human life. Thoreau was m 
accomplished field naturalist and ihe first person to fultv describe the process of 
pknt succession, an important eeo],»gka] concept. Hb talc work Faith m * Stid, 
suggesting the spiritual value of ecological process in its title, describes revegeUlion 
of exhausted farm soil and the strategic* of different native plant species fur dispersal 
(Thoreau 1993)- In My First Summer m rhe Sierra, John Muir. founder of the Sierra 
Club, enthusiastically describes ihe effects of spring floods on ihe stream channels 
Hid the- origin of the moss-covcrcd boulders, once transported by glacial melt water. 
He then contrasts Ihese major geological forces to the small low tones of ihe current 
gliding past the side of the boulder- island, and glinting against a thousand smaller 
stones down the ferny channel!' Muir -<i9li;47-9J Concludes: 'The place seemed h 
where one might hope to sec God.' 

Scientific: ecology's dedication to comprehending the whole as more than ihc sum 
of its parts and to describing natural process in terms of embedded cycles has 
intellectual precursors in nineteenth -century philosophy and theology. Ernst 
Haeckel. for example, was a founder of the Monisi League, which seeks a unified 
all -encompassing reality (BramweJI 1989: 39-56}. As K. S. Shrader-Frechette and 
E D. McCoy (1993: 179) have argued, however, the complexity and stochastic nature 
of ecological process in a forest or coral reef or other living community have actually 
inhibited the development of 'exceptionless empirical laws and a deterministic 
general theory" Ln ecological science. Today's community ecology, for example, is 
still largely based in the analysis of specific natural history based cases, albeit a far 
more mathematical form of research than its nineieenth -century counterpart. Philo- 
sophical holism has presupposed a greater order, which has proved very difficult to 
define scientifically. 

A second realm erf subtle religious influence is in Ihe early ecological emphasis on 
the climax concept, advocated by American ecologist Fredrick Clements, who pro- 
posed that ecological succession ended in a stable biota community with relatively 
predictable components. Early ecologies maintained a strong dichotomy between 
natural and human-influenced ecosystems. The Transcendemaiist interest in the 
primal wilderness reflects nineteenth century valuation of undisturbed nature as 
Edenic, and therefore existing in an eternally unchanging and perfect state Williams 
1987)- The Hudson River School of landscape painting saturated wilderness views 
with 'divine light' and utilized inaccessible mountains as metaphors for C*od. Today i 
ccologists have curtailed the definition of an ideal climax community and, taking a 
mure post-modern perspective, treai the outcomes of disturbance and succession as 

relative to specific conditions and the history of a locale, if subject to rule* of 

Exunplcs of direct reKgiotU influence on ecological paradigms arc few, A potential 
cose is the work of W. C Alice, a Quaker wh... holding commamtadui values, 
believed that ecology had placed an excessive cmpha&i* on compeiiiion and 
should further research eo-opctttion between species and individuals (pen, 
cornm., R- H Miiitaker: Mcintosh jg8v). Hi* finding thai co-operation, often in 
Ihc form of flock* OC herd*, was necessary w ,n *" sun-ival of individuals [now termed 
the Alice effea i* important to conservation biology and the management of 
endangered species. Reduction of packs of predators, such as African wild dogs, 
below a critical size may. foe example, precipitate the demise of the remaining 
individuals and accelerate an extinction vortex. 

iohan Doiuld IVcuHCf U9W- lS 9J has argued that the values of progressive 
Protestantism, particularly the Reformed denomi rial ions such as Presbyterians, 
Quakers, and evangelical Methodists* have 'provided an important spawning ground 
for environmental reform m-uernenul Worsler listi lohn Wtxlcy Powell, carry 
csplorer q( the Grand Canyon and advocate of water conservation; Stephen Mather, 
Director of the US National ftirk Service; Mar)- Austin, natural history writer; 
William (X Douglas. Supreme Court Justice: and lohn Muir. as example* of envir- 
onmental leader* from strong Protestant backgrounds. Important addition* to 
Mforaier'j list are Rachel Canon, a Presbyterian iLcai 1997) and Howard Zahniser. 
aframer of the Wilderness Act and a Free Methodist (pcrs. comm., Zahniser family). 
Worster (1993: J9*-9* proposes that Reformed Protestantism has left a legacy of 
moral activism, ascetic discipline, egalitarian individualism, aesthetic spirituality, 
and support for applied science, which afeo characterize American environmental 
ism. and thereby influence the trajectories and research priorities of environmental 



The Post-modern Dialogue between 
Ecology and Religion 

Through the second half of the twentieth century to the present day. political 
response to enrijonmental degradation and the impact of industrialization 
has driven most religious dialogue with ecological science In an article published in 
Screw* in i#*. Lynn White fe concluded that the Christian emphasi* on a tran- 
scendent deity who is exterior lo and above nature was a major root of techno 
industrial culture's disregard for nature. White pointed to St Francis of Assist as j 
posuhlc ecological role model and suggested that non-Western religions such as 
Buddhism might be inherently more environmentally sensitive and accountable. 

,„ thevigormn dialogued fbDcnved. religious environ™™,^ havechosen from 
among three basic <ira<c*ies: reviving or eatracting ccoWallv JZll I r H 

* ro ore ecoog. ally sound or reforming the world", religion, ,0 ^^ 
effectively with planetary environmental degradation 

Attempts at recovering an ecologically friendly religious heritage include in., 
rflulher*, rhcologan Paul Santmirc M w*o .^ es^ZT^t™ 
White r. constntcted BrorAer E»rt!r .We. G* .* *** >L T^fCn^ 
an environmental theology based on the life and numnV *f it, T 1 

&*to following in Ac footsteps of S, Antony lhe Qml of ^ jn(J 

Chnst fan spirituality . ongmattng whh sain,, „d, * Brigi, and (Wunfc rf by the p.*, Rum, (CJar te **«,. Hindu* have sough, inspire J 
environmental praeKce ,n the myms of Krishna .he cowherd (Prime .992) Lookitm 
for more cnuronmentally compatible religious alternate Wevterncn. have owl- 
led Un Buddhut contemplative practice and emetics » «„ „„«. to , ^„ of nature Western Buddhists see themsehx* as "promoting a differ- 

" l ST J* ,C i Can ,nnUCnC ' "* balanCC °' aCU th * add «° OT ^.raci ^n. the 
«xths burden iTmunennan 1992: 74-5). TTie New Age moV em m ,, in «p«reto np 

elements of differed! rel.^ons, his advocated Nairn American beLefi as« to 

eanh-fnendly Imng. invoked the Eightfold Path of Buddhism, and studied lhe 

oeaiKHi-centwd spirituality of former Dommican friar Mathcw Fox (Peters , w , 

IniellectuaJ and community leaden of all the worlds religions have articulated 
eth.cjJ and ccwmological rationales for better environmental care. These include the 

fii Rowing; 

The belief that the capnos or living creatures have inherent or intrinsic worth Genesis 
1, the first book of the Tonh or Pentateuch, proclaims that God created and blessed 

lite and declared that even the creeping things and the sea monsters arc good'. 
The Hebrew word for good' is tab, implying that creation is both worthy and 
beautiful Miration 1993}. A Pagan might argue for inherent worth based on 
emanating from nature and an understanding of nature awe. Zen Buddhists, 
in contrast, may find Western theological definition* of intrinsic value incom- 
patible with Buddhist concepts of emptinew. A Buddhist might instead nd*DCMe an 
emphatic identification with all life' or a traiwpenonal approach 10 all thaws 
(lames- 2004: 102-3). 

Encouragement of indivMml and community responsibility tmmrJ the environ- 
ment Buddhists, teach that uncunirollcd craving (mxho) and Rtffermg idukkha) 
not only himi the hurain who clings lo them, but ilw prompt poor envirannwnui 
lecision making (Harvey joqo; Tucker and WilEams 19971. Jews have inwked 
pnndpkj from Ihe Torah, such as bal tuslnhit. or do not destroy; forbidding 
wanton destruction of nature (Schwartz 1001). Religions in general have generated 

Stmttfiio.s for fiimmimlTv ,«r<.-. n ;>..,ft: nn A ---_—.:_ .»: .* .... .. •_• r 



environmental account*!'^ ctliKacE0n.1l literature, congregation- and school. 
btttd environmental programmes grass-roott resistance 10 environmental health 
threats, and restoration and sustainable management projects. 

A belief thot the world irgfooif *"'i tytrir Indigenous religions of the eastern 
North Amman woodhnJs Brail wanton destruction of game or environmental 
resources mil of roped for mamto, or a supernatural power taftttiog nor just other 
species, but also inanimate objects and landscape features as well (Tookcr 1979; 
11 .ipancsc care for nature is encouraged by Shinto, where htnii inhabit rrees. 

nxltS, and mounuios (Eaxhart 1982), Christian theologian Jurgen Moltmann {19851 
has advocated a paneniheisi interpretation of the universe which emphasizes divine 
immanence in the physical and birtk environment, while Sallic McFague < [$93 ) has 
proposed an organic model of the Earth as God's body. 

A belief that hunuimty h spiritually linked to the universe or cosmos For Daoists, 
right relationship arises from religious experience, rather than from theological 
dogma or formulations* Chinese religion emphasises xiao, or filial piety, which is 
extended, not just from the family lo the state, but lo the entire natural world— a 
realization arising from the ecstatic religions experience of union with the entire 
cmironment' (Paper loot: 118; cf. Girardot ft at iooi). Roman Catholics recognize 
the saaamentalitv of creation, and reflect on the passage oJ 'life's, seasons of growth 
and dormancy in the liturgical calendar 1 Irwin 1996" J. According to the DaJai Lama of 
Tibet (2000: 16-17): 'M\ material objects can be understood in terms of how the parts 
mpooc due whole, and how the very idea of whole depends upon the existence of 
the pans. ... So when we consider the universe in these terms , . . we also understand 
that the entire- phenomenal world arises according to the principle of dependent 
origin-* For the Buddhist, things, including humans, "do not have an independent 
autonomous reaJi: 

A belief rfcaf religious and athural presentation and ecological preservation art 
integrally linked Far indigenous peoples the native species, natural events, and 
regional landscapes which are threatened by environmental degradation are critical 
lo religious rituals and traditions I Grim 2001 ). The Navaho hast struggled to present 
Glen Canyon dam from flooding sacred Rainbow Bridge, a natural rock arch, among 
other ritual locale* (Kelly and Francis 1994). Hindu women of theChipko movement 
have placed tbemserves between logging crews and sacred groves in order to protect 
both religious traditions and the important ecological service* the tree* providr, such 
as firewood and watershed protection (Prime 1992) Ladakh Buddhism, from the 
high mountains of central Asia, emphasizes rituals linked to seasonal rhythms, and in 
response to a dime till physical environment values frugality and recycling so com 
pletdy that there a literally no waste. In Ladakh, where the populace face* an influx 
of tourists, conversion to a cash economy, and the disintegration of ihe indigenous 
culture, Buddhist organizers have begun organizations to promote cnvironmenially 
sound development {Norherg Hodge 1993: 46), Religions may also .share environ- 
mental concerns such as the preservation of Mount Kailas in western Tibet, which is a 
sacred locale for Hindu, Buddhist, lain, and Bonpo practitioners (Johnson and 
Moran 19U9). 

icotonr and hdugion 


Ecology's and Environmental Science's 

Impact on Religion 

Since the Second World War, ecokgy has mercasingJv influenced religion. Scholarly 

.nvotigatian of ihe structure and function of religions has invoked ecobgU modeU 

,nd concept*, including those of energy and nutnrn. flow through wes^erm 

uhptttion to habitat, interspecific competition, populalkin regular.^ and tesil,' 

ena 10 di*turbance- Roy Rappapon in P& fo , ^^ (l968 , inmEi d thc 

rdaooiuhip ai ntual feasts to management and consumption of New Guinea wild 

pig herds, and thereby the distribution of calories and protein, Richard NeW in 

Make Pv)** to the Haven (1985) correlated Koyukon taboos and region of 

hunting 10 the carrying capacilies and population dynamics of northern «m 

species. Religions, particularly new or alternative" religions, have directly invoked 

ecological terminology and concepts. Today's pagarK believe themselves to be 'fun- 

dameanUy "Green* in philosophy and practice: and borrow scientific language in 

defining humanity as 'one part of an elaborate and evolving commumtv of beings, a 

web of life, an ecosystem' (Harvey 1997: 126, 131,1 

World religions have applied ecology to cosmology. Beginning in .he ,970s. 
ChnstiMS began to capitate- environmental theologies, dubbed 'ecotheologies' as 
the efforts expanded in the 19*0$ (Brattton ,^3). Christians often retain tradition*] 
vocabulary and the Unitarian Godhead, svhik attributing the bioeuwaft rcsultmv 
from evolutionary process to thc ultimate character of thc Creator or' the Hot/ 
SpiriL Similarly. Hindus have explored Vcdk cosmology, where karma is ihe source 
of the planets productivity. Hindu sacrifice and food offerings establish a recipro- 
cal relationship with the ecological energetics of the Earth (Prime 19$* 31 >. Hindu 
dtorrna. coring for the welfare of ail Irving beings, is an ethos giving rise lo 
harmony and understanding in human relationships with *H of creation (Owivedi 
2000). AJehough God Is independent of ihe Five Great Elements, the Elements are 
not separate from God and support the function of the universe. The earth is 
Dharani and the Mother of all living; thus life has value above that of property or 
inherent worth. The Hindu practice of Yajntk incorporating both the sacrifice of 
the individual ego and the ritual burning of impurities, removes human greed and 
lust from the environment (Rao 20001* These concepts in turn inform scientific 
process. AprTel -Marglin and Parajuli (2000) have contrasted supposed scientific 
separation of facl and value in nature and notions of disembeddedness versus the 
embeddedness of ethnic Hindu communities protecting 'sac red groves', which >erw 
as wildlife and forest preserves. 

I"hc impact of a single theory from environmental science mav be demonstrated bv 
investigating the interface of religion and chemist lames Lovdock'> concept of Gaia, 
*hcrc life interacts with and may partially regulate planetary geophysical dynamics 
such as the composition of the atmosphere. Buddhists have responded by analysing 
the connection between the cosmic order [dfcfinu and Gaia iBadincr iw>K 

i jmhrisu conclude thai Gaaa unifies life *nd non-life I Harrison 1$99)< Chmlun 
fetniiufl Rosemary Rwcthce (1992) has compared Teitturd dc Ckudbft Omega Point 
to Gab, as both assume a living and evolving plana. Ructher uses Gaia to model 
planetary healing. Eric Roscnbluni (aooi> Wggeatf that rtfcfcuit ohm. or ecosystem 
restoration, is consistent with the Jewish mystical concept of redemption, which » 
analogous to mending ihc broken blood ve^U' of creation. By presenting the Earth 
as an integrated, dynamic entity, ihe science encourages monotheism or pantheism, 
rather than a portrait of nature personified by multiple deities forming an anthro- 
pomorphu assemblage. Scientific holism and systems modelling have fuelled 4 
conceptualization of the great £»kMc*s for today's feminists, which ts more universal 
than the classical Greek portrait of the earth as yi, or as a female deity in a complex 

ECOLOGY MD Mllliiiosi Slf 

*, cthmc mwontw. During the nineteenth and first half of the 
twcntie.hcentury. National Socialists (Nub) and others with racist or ultra -nationalist 
agC nda» touted socul Darwinism and .deali^ concepts of human itfaftmihip to 
the ecological landscape as evidence of the inadequacies of 'foreign or supposedly 
■non-natiye- ethnm.ies such as lew*. Daniel Gasman (ft*) and Anna Bramwdl \ .*») 
have implicated BnWI HacckeL whose writing.. Men admired by rtek involved in 
alternative religions as a schohir forwarding ecological nam. The US National Park 
system iw esi.Tbl.shed to preserve ruturalenvironmenu, buioriginally excluded Native 
Americans. Indigenous peoples continue to have major concerns about the economic 
abuse of scientific expertise IO rationalize environmentally damaging development 
endeavours, remove control of natural resources fmm regional cultures, and denigrate 
Ihe legitimacy of religious rationales for emimnmctrtai management. 

Religious Critique of Ecological and 
Environmental Science 

Although ecology is -in inherently evolutionary branch of the life sciences, funda- 
mentalist Christian rejection of evolutionary paradigms has not been a mapor 
component of Christian interaction with ecology. Advocates for intelligent design 
of living organisms have shown little interest in debating ecological principles, even 
though the historical! understanding of God as Designer was a key motive for 
Christian study of ecological process. Challenges from the major world religion* to 
cm'tronmental science primarily concern the social interpretation of models predict- 
ing environmental stresses, such as demographic projections of the growth of the 
Earths human population or computer-generated estimates of increases in regional 
surface temperatures thai are driven by climbing proportions of greenhouse gases in 
the atmosphere. More conservative Christians and Muslims, for example, may be 
troubled by advocacy' for regulation of human population growth based on predic- 
tions of future natural resource shortages. 

Adherents to new or "renewed" religions, such as Pagans and Wiccans, are often 
sceptical of sciences influence in post -modem economic and political culture, ami 
perceive their own return to respecting spirit in nature as healing or countering the ill 
effects of techno- industrial societies" excessively rational, unfeeling, and manipula- 
tive approach to the environment. While eeoicminists, including those committed to 
goddess-centred spirituality, are seeking to dialogue with scientific ecology, they 
contest its assumptions, research priorities, and disregard for the perspectives ul 
women and indigenous peoples. Ecofcminists have critiqued the application of 
hierarchical structures io ecosystem ajulysia and the eulogists' preference for study- 
ing competition fn naluic rather than mutualism and co-operation among organ- 
isms (Warren !*«; Zabinski IV97>. 

The Globalization of the Dialogue 
between Ecology and Religion 

As the Earth enters an era of globalization of national economies, there has been a 
call from both academics and environmentalist* to encourage all religions to respond 
to pfanet-wide environmental issues in terms of their own traditions, rituals, coda, 
and cultures. In 1086 philosophical environmental cthicLst Eugene Hargrove edited 
Religion and Environmental Crisis* which emphasized Christian perspectives, but also 
included articles reprcsentiing world religions such as ludaism, Native American. 
Islam, Danism, and classical polytheism. In 199: the World Wide Fund for Nature, 
aware that religious values could cither help or hinder public understanding of 
environmental science and politics sponsored a series of short, accessible volumes 
on 'World Religions and Ecology" summarizing the positive environmental values of 
Clirisuanity. Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, and Hinduism. Between 1996 and 1998, the 
Harvard School Center for the Study of World Religion hosted a scries of environ- 
mental conferences. Mary Evelyn Tucker [200* 9). who spearheaded the project, 
believes that: the environmental crisis calls the religions of the world to respond by 
finding their voice within the larger harth community In so doing, the religions are 
DOW entering their ecological phase and rinding their planetary expression: In 
addition to the fi^c religions covered by the World Wide Fund for Nature, the 
Harvard conferences sponsored commentaries on Confucianism, lain ism, Danism. 
>md indigenous religions, thereby greaiiy expanding the representation of Asian, 
southern hemisphere, and oral traditions. 
As ecological and environmental science enter the twenty-first century, their 
ic with world religious is indeed continuing to expand. E>eep <co!ogtst$, who 

promote a bioccntnc ethic considering both spirilunlilv and egalitarian political 

values have encouraged response* Uom a variety of religious perspective* flUrnhill 

.11 ■-.! I -iitlicb ?ooi). University and seminary course and programme offerings are 

becoming more common .» |M thcrextboofcs supporting them C Kinsley 399V, Podl 

loot) Inhn Carroll and Keith Warner (1998) hat* forwarded the tdcflti&c voice i n 

Eadogy onsi ^tgion; ScientisBS Speak, where comment. Hor* include sorinhioUgivt 

E. O. Wilson on fhe topic of natural philosophy. Hint Norse, a Jewish conservation 

biolopvt, on the meaning of death m nature: and ecobgisl William Gregg nn 

values and management for a sustainable biosphere. Rather than 

merely offering a summary of some idealized human interaction with nature. 

religion* interaction with en vimn mental science is becoming more specific. Ic is 

now engaging individual environmental issues, including human population growth, 

globiJ warming, the preservation of endangered species, and the management of 

specific ecosystems such as oceans, forests, and rivers. Among other benefits, these 

environmental interactions among religions and denominations represent a peaceful 

and thoughtful common attempt to solve urgent practical problems affecting the 

quality of human life and the Cite of the Earth's diverse species and ecosystems. 

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EctffVmmum, Mfancrr. Cu/iwr.- Naiirfc, fcMoomington, Ind: Indiana Unh-mity Press. JI4-14 




I «7 







Scientific tavwigation of the mind, knosvn since the 1970s as "cognitive science ", is an 

interdisdpnnary field of research comprising psychology, neurosriencc, linguistic 

nputcr science, artificial intelligence, and philosophy of mind. The presence of 

philosophy in ihii list is telling. Cognitive sdenee, although ins.itutionallv wdl 

staMished. is not a theoretically scaled field like molecular biology or high-energy 
physics. Rather, it includes a variety or competing research programmes— the com 
putatjonal theory of mind (also known as classical cognitive sdence). connection^, 
and dvr»m>caJ and embodied underlying conceptions of men- 
lahry and its relation to biology, on the one hand, and 10 culture, on the other art 
often strikingly different (see Clark 2001, for a useful overview). 

It is important .0 keep thus situation in mind in any discussion of the rdationship 

between cognitive ^.ence and religion, for different iheoreticaj perspectives in 

cogmuvc sconce can combine with different sdentinc approach* to religion. Rath* 

han rcv,cw these possibilities here, however. I shall describe one recent approach. 

^wnasnmmphcnommolog, -Lutzand Thompson 200* V ilrd a i 99 6>. Although 

science rvarda „ «t m ,). The central idea of the embodied approach is that 

eegnHN 1 fc the noebt o sk.lful know-how in Owed .cttaa The most important 
feature of this approach, for cut purposes hfK , ls ||wl ttpeAnm h nw J n m jh 
epiphenomcnal sidcuuc but » considered central to any adequate undemandin, 
the mtod, and according* needs to be investigated in a careful pl^omenologL. 
manner. Phenomenology toi experimental tl ,g mIrvc ,<*.„„ 3fe |hus fm £ wm _ 
pkmeniaryaml mutually informing modes of investigation. Neumphenomenohw 
builds on th.s view with the specific aim of understanding the nature of conscious- 
ness and subjeclivity and their relation to the brain and body. 

The working hypothesis of neurophenomenufogy ,s that P hcm.rne«HogicaI 
account, of the structure of human experience and scientific accounts of cognitive 
processes can be mutually informative and enriching (Thompson W0 6 : Varcb 
aL 1991: Varda 1996). The term •phenomenology- in this context refers to disciplined 
nrst-person way, of investigating and analysing expenence, „ exemplified by 
the Western philosophical tradition of phenomenology IM„ IU1 M0O | tnd Mm 
contemplative philosophy especially (though not eaxftidvdy) Buddhism. The 
reason why the Buddhist tradition is particularly relevant in this context is that ... 
cornerstone is contemplative mental training and critical phoiomenologkal and 
philosophical analysis of the mind based on such training (Dreyfus and Thompson 
2007; Lute cf ah zoo?). Thus, neuropticnomenology intersects with religion not 
so much as an object of arientitk study, as it h for the cognitive sdence of 
religious beliefs and behaviours (e.g. Boyer loot, zooj. 1005), but rather as a 
repository of contemplative and phenomenological expertise. According to QeutO- 
phenonwnolo}.! , such expertise could play an active and creative role in the scienti- 
fic investigation of consdousness (Lute er aL 1007: Lute and Thompson 200$ 
Thompson 2005). 

Religion indudes many other things besides contemplative experience, and many 
religions have little or no place for contemplatisT experience. Convcrsdy. contem- 
plative experience is found in other contexts besides religion, such as philosophy 
(McGee 20001. For th«* reasons, the term ■religion, at least as it is generally used in 
the West, is not a good designation for the kind of practice and experience that 
ncurophcnornenology seeks to bring into constructive engagement with cognitive 
science. A better description might he the kind of self-cultivation and self-knowledge 
cultivated by the worlds contemplative wisdom traditions" (Depraz t-f aL »oj). Nor 
does the term 'science-religion dialogue' describe the motivation for neuropheno- 
rnenofogv. for the aim is not to compare, evaluate, or adjudicate between the claims 
ol sdence and religion, but to gain a deeper understanding of human experience by 
making contemplative phenomenology q partner in the scientific investigation of 

Of course, if'sdcncc-religion dialogue' were understood as this sort of task— and 
many, especially in the Asian traditions, do understand it in this way— then the gap 
between ncuropheiiumomilngy and religion-science discussions would not be so 
great. Similarly, if the goal of gaining a deeper understanding of human experience is 
taken as a religious practice— n (l certainly b in Buddrmm — then neurophenome- 
nolngy might be seen as part of, or at least parallel to, religious practice. 

The Jamesian Heritage 

Over kki vears ago. William lames, in hit Pnrnrpks of Pfyxholvyy. Wrote that m the 
studvof subjective mcni-nJ phenomena, 'inirosrwiiveGr^rvation is what wr Fmvc to 
rcry <vn first and foremost and jfwayV Ifamrs 1981: 185J. Psychology, as James pre- 
^-med it in This landmark book, is the study of subjective mental plKnomena-^ 
mental event* as experienced in the first person — a* wcH a* Ihc study of how mental 
ctetes are related to their objects, to brain slates, and to the environment. Where-u* 
physiological psychology studies the relation of mind and brain, including the 
rural!* i-volved 'mutual fir' of mental faculties and the environment, introspection 
studies mental states- in their subjective manifestations. Yet, what exactly is introspec- 
. v lames continued: "The word mrrospecn'nn need hargjy be defined — it mean 4 of 
course, the loolung into our own minds and reporting what we there discover 
,-rytw apws Thar *v thtrr distfnrr stares offonsciirtdSnt^ (James 198s: 185). 
Thia passage is often quoted, but less often remarked ts that James hardly thought 
introspection to be easy or an infallible- guide to subjective mental life. Laier in his 
book, when discussing sensed moments of transition in the subjective stream of 
thought and feeling, he wrote: 

i<t anyone air a though* across in the middle and get a look at it* Section, and he will 

** hen* difficult uV imiospecuve observation of ihe transitive (tacts £$-.-. The attempt ji 
introspective an*lr?» in these cases b infra like seizing a spinning lop to catch iu motion, or 
irying 10 mm up The gas quickly enough to see how ihe darkness looks. ( lames 19S1; 2UV-7) 

James dearly did not think that we already know the nature and full range of 
thought and feeling simply because we are able to look into our own minds. In 1904 
lames heard the Theravada Buddhist renunciate Anagarika Dharmapala lecture at 
Harvard oil the Buddhist conception of mind According ir» ih* ftuddhUt view, iherc 
is no single, permanent, enduring self underlying the stream of mental and physical 
ewemx Afterwards* lames rose and proclaimed to the audience, This is the psych- 
ology everybody will be studying twenty-five years from now." He apparently meant 
not so much Buddhist psychology per se. but a psychology of the full developmental 
range of human consciousness, pursued with the kind ol phcnomenologicaJ preci 
sion exemplified by Buotfhisra (Taylor 1996: 146) 

James's prediction, of course, was too optimistic. The words of another founding 

tamer of American psychology, fames McKccn Cattell. also from 1004, indicate the 

pain that much of psychology took in the years to come: 'It is usually no more 

lor Ihe subject in a psychology experiment to be a psychok.m. than it i, r .1 

the v.v.secird frog to be a physiologist' (Catlcll *o* as quoted by Lyon., i#tf: 23). 

strategy that psychology pursued was to objectify the mind as much as possible. 

behavioural performance, physiological response, or. with the rise of 

hen cognitive science, as non-conscious information processing. 

consciousness became 4 taboo term; introspection was rejected as J method for 

investigating the mind; and it was no longer necessary for the psychologist to have 


" ,,W "" U "" ,T »NocoNTiMHATivi*m>iiHa 


jny disciplined first-person expertise in the suhjectrvto of mental life Although 
.here Kcrc notaWe exceptions .0 this trend, such « Grstali psychology and pherwnv 
cnologieal psychology, th.s taboo of nihjectiviiy' fWalbec 2000) has influenced the 
scientific study of the mind for decades. 

It has taken over a Century, not a quarter of one, for the science of mind to begin to 
find its way back to lamas vision of a science of mental life, inducting the varieties 
of religious experience' (Junes i 997 >, which integrates experimental psychology, 
rcuroseience. and phenomenology. In recent years, a small but growing number of 
cognitive scientists have come to accept that rhere cannot be a complete science of the 
mind without understanding subjectivity and consciousness, and that cognitive 
scienceaccordingly needs to make systematic use of introspective first person reports 
about subjective experience (lack and RoepstorrT 2043, 2003 1 As cognitive neyrosci- 
entist Chris Fnth recently staled: "A major programme for 21st century science will be 
to discover how an experience can be translated into a report, thus enabling our 
experiences to be shared (Frith 2002: 374)1, 

Contemplative Mental Training and 

Cognitive Science 

This renewed appreciation of the first-person perspective raises the question of bow 
10 obtain precise and detailed first-person accounEs of experience. On the one hand, 
it stands to reason that people vary in their abilities as observers and reporters of 
their own lives, and that ihcse abilities can be enhanced through mental 
training of attention, emotion, and metacognition. Contemplative practice is a 
vehicle for precisely this sort of cognitive .ind emotional training. On the other 
hand, it stands to reason that mental training should be reflected in changes to brain 
structure, function, and dynamics. Hence, contemplative practice could become a 
research tool for developing better phcnumenulogies of subjective experience and tor 
investigating the neural correlate .-t consciousness. 

The potential importance of contemplative mental training for scientific research 
on consciousness is central to neurophenoinenology i/Lutz el at 2007). Concrete 
ncurophenomenology proposes to incorporate first-person methods' of exam 
ining experience into experimental research on subjectivity and cofncjojusncsi 
First- person methods sensitize individuals to their own mental lives through the 
systematic training of attention , rtnorJon regulation, .ind mclaCOgnUivc awareness 
(awareness of cognition) (Varela and Shear igoo). Such methods and training has* 
been central t.i the ISuddhist tradition since its inception (Wallace 199*, 1999). In 
Tibetan Buddhism. contempt ive mental training is often described as a systematic 
process of 'familiarizing oneself with the moment- to- moment character of mental 

Crafts (Lute o2 soo?l. This description points towards the relevance of contem- 
plative mental training to ncuropbenomcnciJogy uontemptoTive I Mining lultfvata 
.1 capacity far sustained, attentive awareness of the moment- iu moment flu* ^f 
ejcpefniKt ii fames, famously called the stream of consciousness'. For iha 
reason, the Buddhist tradition holds ipec»] interest for ticurophenomcnobn 
(1 JttZ ri el 2007: Vareta ft ai 1941K 

ft 1* worth reconsidering, rrom this vantage-point of contemplative menial trdin- 
tng. bow p^ycholog OiRM to reject introduction shortly after lames. Accordfns 
to the standard history* introspection was given a fair try but failed. It allegedly failed 
because the two rival schools oh irttrn>pcctaom>l psychology were unable to agree 
whether there was such j thing as imageicss thought, lames had already observed 
however, chat the form of introspection practised by these schools was stilted and 
tediiuM. because tt focused on the sensations caused by irn|K>verishcd sensory stimuli 
(fames iq£i; 191-2). It is not surprising that introspection of this sort turned out toftc 
so unilhinunatmg, as Gcstalt psychologist* and phenomenologists also | aTer 
remarked iKohler i9ar- 67-99; Mcricau-Ponty 196.2:3-1*), Furthermore, the textbook 
history neglects to mention that the rival schools did agree with each other at the 
descriptive kvd of introspective phenomenology; their disagreement was instead at 
the kvei of theoretical or causal interpretation. One lesson lo be learned from 
this debate, therefore, is not that introspection is a useless method for obtaining 
descriptive accounts of subjective experience, but rather that psychology needs 10 
discriminate carefully between the description ofsubjecuve phenomena and causal- 
explanatory Ihcoraing f Huribert and Heavey 1001). A similar lesson should be 
drawn from the famous studies of Nisbett and Wilson in 1977: they observed thai 
subjects often said that their behaviour was caused by mental events when it was 
really the resuh of external manipulation. Yet these inaccurate subjective reports were 
lusal-amlanarory in form, not rigorously descriptive and phcnomcnologkaL Again 
me !e»on to be learned is Jut experimental participants need to be coached to pm 
stria anention to their felt cognitive processes and to avoid causal-evpJanatory 
conjectures (Huribert and Heavey 2001 1, 

Yet how is such attention to be cultivated? First-person methods of examining 

experience are concerned with precisely this question (Varela and Shear 1099). What 

makes Buddhist contemplative mental discipline exemplary in this context is its 

pragmatic refinement and theoretical sophistication (Dtpraz et ai 2003). Whereas 

Tames described introspection as simply looting into our own minds and reporting 

what we there discover: Buddhism speaks of sustained attention to. and analytic 

-ccmrncm of. ones own mental processes. Buddhist phenomenology distinguishes 

mm attention*! Mah.lity and instability due lo mental excitation, and between 

tter*»wl vmdness and dullness due to mental laxity (Wallace 1999). Buddhist 

Jl il^ aBBa ihC "**«V**™ monitoring of these qualifies of 

.on. and Buddhist cpUtcmology discuses the degree to which a mental COgri- 

ascenarns or fails to ascertain its mental object, according to various conditions 

I Dreyfus m .Va.rding xo .Jus perspective, if the stream of though, and feeling is 

• ■ * 

..... 1 


turid. rather than turbulent and murky, then inspection in lames'* sense will be 
much richer in its discoveries and reports. 

The working hypothesis of neurophem.rnenology appeal to this notion of refined 
first person observation and description of subjective mental events In an opal 
mental context, this working hypothesis is twofold. First, pheiiomenologicallv pre- 
cise first person reports produced through mental training can provide important 
information about endogenous and externally imc onto -liable fluctuating of 1110- 
menl-to -moment experience, such as quality of attention fLutt er al 200*), In 
addition, individuals who can generate and sustain a particular type of contempt 
live state cultivated in the Buddhist tradition— a state in which one's mind reposes. 
awake and alert, in the sheer lummosity of consciousness (its quality of non- 
fdteciivc .ind open awareness), without attending esclusively to any particular object 
or content— could provide important information about subjective aspects of con- 
sciousness not readily apparent or accessible 10 ordinary introspection or reflection 
1 1 utz et al 200?). 

Second, the refined first-person reports produced through mcnul training can 
help to detect and interpret physiological processes relevant to consciousness, such as 
large scale dynamical patterns of synchronous oscillatory activity in nam) assem- 
blies. Experimental studies following this approach have already cast light on the 
neurodynarnics of conscious visual perception (Cosmclli er al 2004; Lute et al 2002), 
epileptic activity and associated subjective mental event: {Lc Van Quyen and 
Peritmengin 2002), pain experience (Price ef d. 2002; RainviDe 2005), and the 
neurodynia mical correlates of meditative states in highly trained Tibetan Buddhist 
practitioners (Lutz etal 2004). 

A further conjecture regarding contemplative mental training and experience is 
also important. Individuals who can generate and sustain specific sorts of mental 
states, and report nn thott states with a high degree of phenomenologkal precision, 
could provide a route into studying the causal efficacy of mental processes— how 
mental processes may modify the structure and dynamics ot the brain and body. 
According to a neurodynamical perspective, mental states are embodied in large- 
scale dynamical patterns of brain activity (Thompson and Vareb 1001), and these 
patterns both emerge from distributed, local activities and also globally shape or 
constrain those local activities. One can thus conjecture chat in intentionally gener- 
ating a mental state, large-scale brain activity shifts from one coherent global pattern 
to another, and thereby entrains local neural processes (Freeman 1999; Thompson 
and Varela loot). Thus* individuals who can intentionally generate, sustain, and 
report on distinct type* of mental slates could provide a my of testing and devel- 
oping this idea. 

Ncurophenomcnological research based on the foregoing hypotheses has poten- 
tially profound implications for both cognitive science and contemplative wisdom 
traditions. Were such research to prove fruitful, adep: wcnu-niplatives could become 
a new kind ot scientific collaborator, rather than simplv .» new type of experimental 
participant, for their first-person expertise would be directly mobilised wuhus 

scientific research an the mind. Ti> condiulf this chipter. I would like io relate ihit 
• overall iheiTu ■ is Handbook. 

Towards a Contemplative Science 

of Mind 

At the outset of this chapter I staled that the aim of nearophenomcnology is not 
to adiudkaic between the claims of science and religion with regard i« hurrm, 
experience, but to pin a deeper understanding of experience by making contempjj- 
tive phenomenology a partner in the scientific investigation of consciousness. 
Varela, Thompson, and Rosch (1991 ) haw described this approach as one of mutual 
, ircuJation' between science and experience. According to the logic of mutual circu- 
lation, each domain of cognitive science, phenomenologieal philosophy, and con- 
templative mental training is distinct and has its own degree of autonomy— its own 
pm|HT methods, motivations, and concerns— but they also overlap and share com 
mon areas. Thus, instead of being juxtaposed, diher in opposition or as separate but these domains can flow into and out of each other, and so be mutually 

This vision of mutual circulation docs not fit easily within the established frame- 
works of the raencc-rcligjon dialogue. We can appreciate this point bv distinguish- 
ing the mutual circulation perspective from some of the main 
posiijons staked out m the science-religion dialogue, particularly » this dialogue 
touches on the nature of the human mind 

Kru. goring the muiuaJ circulation of mind science and contemplative experi- 
ence : s different from viewing science and religion as non-overlapping maristeria' 
(Gould .wl. TTws separwe-but-equaJ strategy of insulating science and religion it 
highly problematu. It divides science and religion along the lines of a subject-object 
dualism: science addresses the empirical world conceived as a realm (rfooiewMty 

, 2FV% Km £ Ua T ** aAiKtin rMlm ° f hun,an *"*>**. meaning, and 
*ake. .« this ,ub**1-ob,ect dualism breaks down in ,hc face of the intersubjectivity 

TJ^SZST** (T ^° mps0n *»*>- Imcrsubjecttve experience is the common 
S,T''?- aB f *>■*». »«» '■ ^poorly understood when fractured along 
the 1,„« of a sibjeci-^eci tor fact-value) dichotomy (Wallace 2005; 

lo£°correSr , f U !, CiriUla,i0n a f TOh & daftrenl ( ™ m look '^ f <" ** H**- 
S Zt ™ T CXPCr,CT,aS "* NCWb " 6 f!al »3 n * differ- 

««rimtLf „ C ° ^ m ' e5 ' " mcn "" ncd ***• a,c «•**««* «* -imply * 

IS SS* ,0 ~ n *""* «S«"-e scientist being schooled in 
n.qu« and mathemaucal modelling, and future contemplate practitioners bd« 

'"U»iTiisipi Arl v|. ntPhR, 


knowledgeable in neuroscknee and Mperimctital rmrh ft 1n™ e ■ 
plative knowledge could thus mutual? SSKKS ?T " ld H "* OTl 
environed ibis son of pros^a over a Zurv lo H ^ °* Cr " N " 
^chalogy and rehg.ou, experience (see";;;;^ " * W,ta » OT ** ri ifa 

Third, the mutual circulation approach is different from .h», 
religion, especially evolutionary psychology S^JZSFZ *T' °< 

behaviour (Boyer ,001. ,003. ightS* het cxplll ! I '^l ^ 

Ufa! rdfckn* concepts ta our intuitive SSSSSS^SSSTSS. '" 
and imsfortuiK (see Boyer ln o 5 ). thev negkc, Z ?2 ? ^ ' ?**** 
rdigious traditions. WhVreas eSo^^^SK^r * ^ 

neurophenomenobgy looks ,0 the , o[c (hat conlcmpUi% , ^^ '.^ 
expenence can play m a phenomenologically enriched cognitive science 

, C0 .T 0n iK^ UrC ° f f ,] " W W" 1 " W «*«« «« ***** I have 
contrasted with the mutual circulation approach is that thrv 1 ,l T 

of science- and r^on" largely for ££ ^^^^ 

KJS.^ a / C f™?*™ >-*— "'cgorie, thaThave Z a^ 
,n recem Western history by the science- tdigion conflicts of the Furopean En.,1- 
enrnen. and modernity. As such, they do no, map m anv clear way on ,0 the 
knowkdge ormataon. and soda, practices of certain other cultural traditions, i„ 
pabular of As,an contemplative wisdom traditions (see Hal 200,). A* 
VvalLKe has recently wn.ten ,n his itttroducdon to a volume on Baddhisrn and 

The assertion thai Buddtem «lud» scientific eicmenis by no ta OTCTlook ., or <)immt . 

concerned w ,h human pu^^ meanin( ., ^ vaiuc , BuI . |jkf ^ ^ ^ 

* th undtmandinr th* '«W of w „rv ln d m cnul e^ience. a, d ,, , lddrns TuV 
quest.ns o what ,he uruyerse. including both ot,ec,we and 5 „biecr,.v ,benonie,a. I 

nV mere fad thai Buddhism .ndudes elements of rdigbn k no. s.fficicn. for singubriy 
atcgarmng „ as a rehgjon. iiny „,o re ,han ii can be cWied on the wbok H * scrrTe To 
«udy th,s favte objectivrfv require, our Wscning U,e pip on fannlu, co*«plual 
o^Otiej and prepanng to confront something radkaB, unfamiliar thai mxy dnftW cur 

ST TT '" ' hc Pr0aas w ""' "^ ,h * " Jtui ol «"« i«« h» relaL to 
the mttaphjSKj] ivioms pii whKh 11 b based [WUtact :ooja: 9-10I 

n iJ^ ChaP ' eT ' 1 bXK pr °P os ^ lh * , ««*"> toniemplative wisdom traditions— 
Hudahum most notably, though not exclusively-arid certain approaches in cogn. 
tire science— the embodied approach and— are not Umplv 
compatible, but mutually normative and enlightening. Through tttck-and-forth 
drcufatum. each approach can reshape the other, leading to new conceptual and 
practical undciMan Jings for both. At stake in this possibility fa nothing less than the 
prospect of a mature science of the mind that can begin to do justice to the rich and 
diverse traditions of human contemplative experience. 


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R«jmu* P^ (.005). •Nn.wptenonwDlajfc dc, «au a d« content de »«*««« cUn, 

3?e>i(iJ i« Cojp»r>ir Sciences, $: 418-35, 

Vamav E |i996). 'Neurophenomenology; A Methodological Rrnmly tor the Hard ProV 
lein. hurnal a/Consctotwiess Studies, y 330-5Q. 

— and Shp^ R . 3.^00) ( cd.O, 77,e View from Wiilm Frnt^Pervn poaches to the Study 
if Consciousness. Thorvenon. UK: Imprint Academic 

txpenence. Carabnd&e, Masv: MIT Press. 

^TuTu\^ U9 ? lUe3ri ^ 

iallc. III.: Open Court. 

— (t«W>- The Buddhbt Tradition of aAnmoihn: Methods for Rxfinine stvd E^mmmg 
consciousness. 111 Varda and Shea: J959), i?i-8$. 

— (woo). I7ie Taboo of Sriprrirai? JTrmtrd j Wen- Sw^ o/Oiwrjffiwss Nen- Yorfc 
Oxford University Press 

— 12003*) (cd.). BtelrfAiim 4«d 5cr^.r: Arnttptf Nw OHwd New York: Columbia 
univerury Press 

C2003W- Introduction: Buddhism and fciefi«: in WaDace I2003I, 1-29. 

— (10051. The faienuhjeciive Worlds of Science .md Rcliyon. in L Proctor led.i, Sere,: 
Migwn, and the Human Experience. New York and Oxford Oxford Uiuveratv Press. 


P !!■■■•■ 






■«• an interesting puzzle that two broad areas of human endeavour and inquiry, the 
human sciences and religion, both haw among their ultimate goals to understand 
and help human beings, it is hard to find an aim in all of human scholarship that i> 
more lofty and more important liran this one. This is because, whether through 
religious avenues or through Scientific ones, if aw are able to fully understand how 
human beings function— think, feel, and act— we frill have struck upon the single 
most important piece of knowledge of all time. This knowledge is the] 
golden nng. He or she who has knowledge has power. He or she who has knowledge 

ihe workings of human beings, whether it is implemented through religious or 
hrough secular media, has ability akin to thai held by the possessor of the golden 
nng of ancient tales— the power to influence, guide, mould, and yes, even control jl* 
behaviour of other people. 

rout^,™ 1 " '" *" Mp ' tn "* P re P""»« °f «* d-pWi and the- Odin 

Pn^iX Wh TT" WPP ° nCd h " "*"* ™^»*»P- P"«k>n. of .his .hapte, were 

otoL 5^ VW™™ entiUcd Integra,^ Themes in d* Cunt* Sdou» ,. ihr 

^omenuan, Uuhingtan DC, August 1005. 


Those who aspire ro liberal, democTaiic. and hum,™., j , 
cringe at the though, of such k „ mv | nlg S J^^^ f"^ 
specialised group of authorities, whether" ,h^^ 3£££2' £ £* * 
human nature. ft would be preferred that 2 ring u "n £~Z T k 
bottom of the sea, This ,s became, „ , ht Karri L*ll 7 t g pha '" ,hc 
tadrvMu&or.maflffoups of persons en rusS^T^ T P " t** * 
cannot be trusted to guard and use those Ueasl vj, ^^Z t T!Z 
the good Of the Whole. Yet it is precisely the kind «rT„ T , t compassion for 
possfble. a, least in principle, L K fc fiSSttS^f?' 

It's All Psychological 

Let OS explore the picture that is takmg shape as we began to see what this knowledge 
looks hke and begm to understand the human creature desenbed by i, The 
psychology of re|,g,o„ ,s a rich storehouse of treasure, that offers a compclUns 
argent to .he see nee- religion dialogue. Th,s w,|, become clear as we 1^ 
research approaches and what they can and cannot tell us about religion, present the 

***** fundamental, core ««, that prevail across the myriad specifiTareas of 

I am convinced .hat the psychology of religion and it, companion human sciences 
1 religion are « a threshold. Research and theoretical advances have occurred durine 
the past twenty-five years that are sufficiently powerful to scholarship >n both 
in.radisciplmary and interdisciplinary ways as far as the eye can see. The fields look 
po.sed. ready to begtn the work that will become their biggest contribution com- 
bined wtth its brggest risk: i.e. the complete understanding of the psychological 
processes .nvolved in religion. This progress has been documented in the Hon**** 
of the Psychology of Region ami Spirituality (Palou.zian and Park 2005a) The 
research base ts vast, and ranges from the micro (e.g. neurological factors in religious 
or spiritual experience) to the macro (religious factors in international terrorism and 
peace), Park and I (Palouwian and Park 2005*) have proposed lhat the integration of 
the vast body of research and that of the future may be facilitated by two pivotal 
Mew the multilevel interdisciplinary paradigm (Emmons and Paloutzian 2003) and 
the : model 01 religion as a meaning system (Park and Fnlkman mr. Park 200s* 
iHberman 2005ft 2005&), lluse two ideas, respectively, provide the overarching 
umbrella under integrative research and theory is encouraged and j common 
anguagc that can apply to religion as it is studied k.oss all topic areas (Park and 
I'akiutzian 2003). 

Psychology of Religion or Religious 


I lake it as j gjrca that in order tor this large scjence-retigion conversation to yield 
benefits for ihc world it is necessary for all participants ro engage in it with a truly 
open mind. In Ihc idea! case, all persons would Itstcn and speak Jo the issues with 
detailed ohKctiviiv Bui it is questionable whether 'objectivity' exists and even if j| 
rs, ptychological research eonsistenth show* that people approach tasks of per- 
ception ami interaction from the point of view of then own biases lAJickeeifil, ini) 
Scholars are no dilrerent- 

NcA-ertheless, the imp*." tamtt of enabling all minds to be genuinely' open is made 
dear when we examine the difficulty of finding common ground when one or more 
of the participants believe* that he or she fus the truth and that it is absolute, For 
example, those who espouse so-called Creation Science insist that the earth j* 
between 6,ooo and 10,000 years old. deriving this view from one interpret a Lion .f 
the Book of Genesis. This »oung earth 4 view is arrived at logically prior to and 
independent of an examination of the data. Thus when the da la are examined, they 
are attributed to a process that conforms to ihe prc-held view. No other conclusion ts 
acceptable. It would seem, therefore, that if a point of view is already hdd in a 
sufficiently fixed, absolute way, there is little real capacity (01 dialogue. The danger is 
that there may be only combat. 

Sfmikr difficulties can be seen among psychologists attempting to dialogue who 
presuppose either a secular Western epistemology or a Muslim religion- based episte- 
indogy, Kbahli and Colleagues (2002) and Murken and Shah (.2002) present a dialogue 
between a Western psychologist of religion and an Islamic psychologist. The epi sterao- 
lofticaJ assumptions of the two participants differ in ihi* extreme: they are incompat- 
ible. In the secular Vtfestcrn mind, religion is an aspect of culture similar to other 
aspects By contrast, in the stria Islamic mind, religion defines the culture, so that all 
other aspects of it are subsumed within the religion (sec the remarks by Murium in 
KhaJili ct aL 2002). Thus would include knowledge and the conduct of science. Tne 
published dialogue illustrates the long way we have to go to bring others into thb 
convcrsauon. Sooner or later it is necessary for people on opposite sides of an issue to 
collaborate In uScpsycJiokigy of rehgion this would be exemplified by psychological 
researchers conducting projects on problems that concern ihcm both and thai cannot 
: addressed Without the full mutual participation of both sides. It is the co-operation 
of people who think in different way*, working on research projects of mutual benefit. 
w automatically engages them in dialogue with each other. Fundamentally, this 
means doing psychology of religion rather than religious psychology. 

Rdigiws is not one thing, however. It is a multidimensional variable whose facets 
mclude beliefs, knowledge. praaic « ( fcdin ^ tf^ mylhs 0f foundatJmu| ^^ 

«d ethics fsee tens such as Patoutzian 1996; Wuiff ,997; Spilka ct fl t 2003, for 
discussions of these dimensions; see Smart i«So. for an application of them). 

« SCI&MceS, AND RFLrr.lON 239 

Further^ nany p«pfe bl the world luv C cither a n « pM1 d«l 0r a differ™, 
,-onccpr o rh.1, wh,ch t™*™* ft. «d grfrfe, lhm .^ ^ £™ 
a per*,™! God ta wuh 1m connect,™ to ttligl0lK taaHJ fa 

«*„ « , „ am for., nr mgam , K . ing: J]ld for ^ . J J J" Mate <rf beng or crtm «**««« of uWmatt Vi l«, or eoLrn 
(Emmons ,999). Although « „ probM y piychalogiauly functonrfh- equiv^r,, ,„ 

addiuoo .0 rcl.g-n*, Therefore. d..lop« bc, WeCT Kicnccanil «*£« w ], prohnbh- 
(ZmnbauerAndl'atg.-iment .005). ^ '' 

Religion and Spiritu 


■ !.«.. 

Over the course of the twentieth century the use of the terms religion' and spmtu- 
ahty evolved an somewhat parallel but partially overlapping track., It seems cum 
monly assumed that prior to mid-century these two terms were understood to mean 
more or less the same thing A devoutly religious person understood him- «r herself 
to be spiritual, *t\4 someone who was seen as a spiritual person would be so labelled 
because he or she demonstrated genuineness or consistency in the practice of a faith. 
Roughly speaking, this ,* how these two concepts would have been understood for 
approximately the first half of the tost century. 

What his -region' tome to mean? Somewhere around mid-century, however, the 
usage ot these two terms began to diverge. Religion' gradually cam* to have reference 
primarily to traditional established bith tradit.cms, These have known hutorks, 
organizations, and outlets for routine activities such as wor*mp. ministry, or out- 
reach. In simple categories, religion meant Protestant, CathoBc, or Jewish, In psy- 
chological and sociological research on religion, this three-group categorization was 
the operational definition of religion for many studies (Argyle and Beit-rlalkhiru 
197* Some additional precision was attained in studies that farther subdivided 
Protestants into denominations and subdivided lews into the three mam branches 
of Judaism. 

At the same time, people began to look outside established church structure* t„ f 

an additional resource or as an alternative route to enhance their spirituality and 

meaning in life. The traditional church was not working for many people, so they 

searched for other ways to connect wtrh something larger than themselves. Thi> 

emerging search for spirituality expressed itself in both religious and non-religious 

Many new religious movements (NRMs) emerged (Melton 1986). many of whose 
adherents were aitrucrcd 10 the group they were in because of a search for genuine 
spirituality 1 Hi Jurd-Min i y «)s; P.iimii/mn, Richardson. and Itimho i^LSonw NRM 

convert* were searching for a spirituality different from (some would viv mo 
juthentu thftf) I the religion m which they were raised. For them, panidpation in 
their new rdigion was Mill a mailer of hmhng spirituality within a group thai ddin j 
Mwlf in religious terms. 

IVftm 'w.< sfiritu^hry came to mtatfi For others the vrarch to satisfy ^pjria i 
needs led them ."maj Jrom idailifublv religious groups. Theii alternative was a nan 
rebpous form ofsp iritu,ditv. Whatever aspects of traditionally religious institution^ 
these departing srab WCte responding to i .-... emphasis OTi ritual, formality, irad- 
■•naiism. doctrine, creeds, and codes), the search was on for a meaning, purpose 
and fulfilment ihjt would transcend ihcm;. they found it un&atisfectorv when it w 
defined in the trad I ccrm« of God and church, For these persons, the comer- 

fation changed from which doctrines to believe and which religious practices 
engage in to which values to hold and which experiences to enhance. 

Haware spirituality and relighw stmihr and different? During the past fifteen vcan 
research ha* cmpiricaLV teased apart what religion and spirituality mean to people 
iPargamenl 1997; Zmnbauer et at 1997; Hill a al 2,000; Zinnbauer and Pargameni 
2ooi aoos Hill and Pargamcnt ^003). Tlic two concepts overiap but arc not synonym 
OUft. Both religion and spirituality rend to be associated with frequency of prayer, church 
attendance, and intrinsic religious orientation (see Allport and Ross 1967 and Hill a n d 
Hood 1999). and hotfi terms connote attempts to connect with that which is perceived 
ID be Herod (HiJI exai 2.000), However, spirituality is more associated with mysticd 
apenenca and being hurt by detgy. and connotes more concern with personal growth 
and existential issues, in contrast, religion is more associated with authoritarianism 
church attendance, .md sdl' nghieousness, and connotes more personal and institu- 
tional practices and commitment to church or denominational beliefs ( Zinnbauer et ai 
i»7). Thus, the way people describe thesr spirituality and/or relipousness lakes differ- 
ent forms. For example, people say that they are both religious and spiritual, nattier 
rtfpoturtPrjpintuaJ. spirit uJ hu not religious, refagious bur not spiritual, or they 
embrace a peculiar combination of rehgiousspirituaJitycombincd withnon^reltgion as 
was said byoncofmy students, lam a spiritual Christian but mtrtkpous' (Pdomnm 
and Park 20056). 

Implications for the Science-Religion Dialogue 

•• tmplicarions Mow from theabov^considetations about what rdigbn is. First, 
and most mpwt „ for psychology of religion research, ,s .hat it may not mailer 
whefei •* person say, that he or she is «Lg»u. or „*. traditional God or church 
te!Z£?rr »-xlf MorefundamentaJ than .he words that «c u« is 

ZTlt Z ^TT* f ! ""**" Md mcdia,CS W< ' — nnimen, to that 
wh*h to .beyond themselves (Rankl ,963; Emmons ,*», *>oo, Psychological., 

*^'*« "« ™"~ Aether rhisisc^led religion, spirituality.or something 
else. The terminology seems to be a matter of personal preference (Palouuian J 

: " Bfl ^<«NCBS> AND R M 


Park zoojfr). Modern research reflects this. * or ^pL m . 
compendium of measures includes many .ha. m £ , "*** [ lW) 

gious^s. > P ri,ualiiy r and related ProeeTvcTlrl^ £H ? ™ P ** "* 

Larch will need ,0 expand to encompa" £ ££ "t S * ^ Fu, " r < 
people talk ahn* what may be ^^^^^^ «* fa ■*» 
Second, and equally important for the broader *iciace-, n 4.«*m 1 1 

M«£ »« nnd the church o, ,,i,h ;1 - leal - confllft betwecn ^ ^; 

th. mean.ngs .ha ,h CSC ,h, ngs have «, people today. Thi S is b^^, it b to J™ 

mosW. oxn rf hose have roots ,n ,he p^ or i n ones rd%ioa* l«chmg Tie 

huroncal pa* of « ^ or the prorvo^cements ,ha, a rdigjon makes in Lion 

M locmr rnaner .nrtar « ■ .hey « pressed psychoiog^lv in fe here and now. 

Thi«, .he conmbouor. of 4c psychology of region .0 thcdi.logu, » fund™* 

because our ttdu, enhanced when we .ndcrsUnd the unique role tru, religiousness 

play. tunc. 10 nalJy ,n the h U man mind. Therefore, scholanhip by when in .he 

saence-rehpon field would be enhanced in two important, perhaps ...dispensable 

way, by uKOrponlmg research in the psychoiogy of rclig.on. Km. .he exploratory 

lor diakgutng ) process .s rt «tf a ma.ter of .he perception, processing, and 

pretanon of mformauon withir, a persons meaning system. This means ,h 4 . 

whether someone understands or accepts a point of view different from his or her 

own depend* nor only on logical ar SurtlC n., or evidence, but also on the 

psycho opcal processes involved in .he construction and maintenance of rotanin* 

Psychologjcally. .ruth is in the meaning system of .he beholder. Second, .n .he end 

people nuy respond lo whu a new idea means ,o diem no mailer how tondh. 

compelling l. might be. Thus the goal of significantly fostering the well-being of 

humans reqmre* thai psychological knowledge be integral to the process. To bm a 

good impact, our logic needs psycho-logic. 

Religion as Unique and Non-unique 

The issue of whether religion is like or unlike other human activities is foundational 

to the psychology of religion {Dates 1969), and perhaps to f be larger saeiKC-religion 

Jogue. If religion operates in [he same my ** any other human activity operate*, 

inen it is non-unique, an instance of behaviour in General, and there is 1110 comneilino 

reason other than the practical imp. stance of reftgion in the wortd for psychology,^ 
any other science lo engage it (McGntf i^9«i). If, on the other band, religion is atl 
Ktrvit) that isinirinttcally different, that plays a role or operates in ways that nothing 
eke does, then it is unique and warrants this dialogue because scientific knovriedg c 
Csfinol be complete without il, itnd solutions to problems may he possible thai could 
not be ha J any other way (McCrac 1999). The sritnct-rcligion dialogue seems largely 
to assume the tarter posiiion — that there rs -something about religion That h unique 
and that drives human life in such a degree thai science must engage il. 

7h€ broad scictice-ftUgion conversation, as well as the psychological study Q f 
individual people will Contribute the most by adopting the approach that the unique 
and ihe non-unique assumptions arc both true. Looking at religion from the point of 
view of' a psychologist, il is obvious, ihat much religious belief and behaviour and 
many religious emotions and cognitions operate by the same processes by which any 
other beliefs, behaviour, emotions, and cognitions operate. This should neither 
surprise nor threaten anyone, intruding the strict religious believer. But also, th*?re 
is a mounting body of evidence (Paloutzian and Park 2005s; Pargameni 2002) that 
there are aspects of religion noi found elsewhere. One often noted aspect of thb 
uniqueness is religions ability 10 draw commitment 10 that which the person 
perceives as sacred (Pargameni 1997; Pargameni, Magyar- Russell, and Murray 
Swank 2005; Sfiberman 2005th Whatever this unique aspect of religion is, however 
it does not seem to manifest itself at a psychological level only, ]ts expression is 
evident across various levels of analysis and multiple disciplines. 

Integrating the Research 

One of ihe most daunting tasks in an enterprise as grand as the scicnee-reiigiosi 

dialogue, whose charge includes pooling together ideas from many fields of science 

and many religions, is how to integrate the vastly diverse database and ideas. The 

closer we come to identifying elements common to a number of areas, the more likely 

wc are to settle upon ways of synthesizing them. No field has come upon the single 

best schema for how to do this, but Crystal Park and I recendy proposed that five 

themes may be sufficient for this integrative function for psychology of religion 

research ( Palounian and Park 1005ft Park and Paioutzun 2005). The psychology of 

rlJgion u too years old and has never had an idea, theory, principle, or assembly of 

them that could integrate the diverse approaches and types of data in the field- l*mo 

Dtttes (1969J correctly and pointedly informed us that we had large reams of data, 

nrims speoes of theory big and small, and each hid little to do with any other There 

were two psychologies of religion: one of iheories (Freud, lung, and variations] and 

of numbers (questionnaire responses on myriad religious beliefs, practices, 

experience,, etc.). Each went forward on iis own track, either incapable of, «,r 

— , > I «i> HCUll | UH 


lim nurcMcd ,n, rektingto the other. M«**|fe lhc r «, of pByrfl0 | a g r wmovinR 

« prevent mc ml ■ Kraorduury cro^heoreueal a»d erosS -em P ir.«i W ,kL„ng 
,„ «MMpfa» S,gnnmd (to*, „, h* mid-cemury nZS rev,™ , w ^, J 
conduded tha £***£ eoufdno, beacoberen. «,«,ce. But thcoppo^e eame « 

"," r " "'"J ^ 'I n' ab3S : '^— ' :! " Mrfeoptt* -,,,;.'„, 

to connect* other approaches. Perhaps these theme, «, faci]i» at e imesmion acrow 
,he broad range of .s SU « thai mke up the larger scicncc-relipon dialogue 

the five integrative .heme, thai m think are efficient t0 enable J to d»W 
about the whole held arc (i) the paradigm fame, [jj methods and theory (,) the 
question of, (4) the path of Ihe psychology of rebgior,. and {}> Uk rale of the 
psychology or religion. 

Multilevel Interdisciplinary Paradigm 

^psychology of religion has almost always been pre paradigmatic. Richard Gorsuch 
(lott) looki 1 look inthefim.^er^nu^KenViv^P^/ro^chapteron Atopic; he 
concluded that the held dad noi yet have an integrative idea oreommon language The 
truth oflhe time: psychologic of rdjg» n werestill trying to measure what their topic 
was aboui. The good news is that from 1*88 10 ihe publication of the second-ever 
Annual Ratew chapter (Emmons and Paloutzian 2003) the field was transformed in 
the richness of the data collected, the range of methods used, and the ideas driving the 
research and used lo interpret the data ( Hood and Belzen 2005). TTie field isdoing what 
th< rrol of psychology has been doing: le. gradually movingtowards^vntbesisofihe 
Wicd data around common ideas (Patoutzian and Hark 2005k Park and Woutzian 
2005)- Asa reflection of this trend and as a stimulus to further it, we argue for the uscof 
Ihe multilevel interdisciplinary paradigm (Emmons and PaJouRfen 2005). Multilevel 
means thai research in the specialized areas within ihe psychology of religion can be 
interrelated and brought together in 3 common theory, interdisciplinary means , row 
fertilization of research in the psychology of religion with that of allied fields such B 
anthropology, ncurosciencc, biology, sociology, and so forth. This paradigm is sec- 
ondarily a description of how the field has been in the recem past, and is primarily a 
concept that we hope guides all of our thinking in the future. 

Method and Theory 

For much of the field's history, theory and empirical research in the psychology 
of religion had little to do with each other. The well-known theories about the 
psychological bases of religion written by Freud (1917) and Jung (1938). for example, 
had no major counterpart in empirical research. Likewise, the mostly questionnaire 

data empirical studies were done with vrrmngjy no concern for theoretical relevance. 
Bui n i>. precisely the creation of good theory to which good data contribute, due to a 
racthcxf-thcwry-mcthod feedback loop thai is inherent in all sciences. Receni slHoI- 
jnhipwerm to have changed tins, however (Corvcleyn and Luytcn 2005; Kirfcnatnck 
:orc5a,20c*56)v-wU3auhciw<Taafo^ the ideas can lutacros* 

all topic area* and help hrinj; them together in a more unified picture. 


Most gratifying in the aTea of theory are recent advances in empirical approaches to 

testing modem rwjvhoanalyrk theories of religion. Corvclcyn and Luyicn (200%) 

have documented a growing body of psychoanalytic research that uses methods other 

than ihc tradioonaJ case-study method (l.uytcri. BlaTt. and Corveleyn 2006). These 

tcccnl approaches cnab.'f toUected to Test psyciminialytic ideas 10 interact wi(h 

their counterpart material from mainstream psychology. They include techniques 

such tj experience samplins. diary methods thaE allow for a more in-depth look at 

pwchologicnl processes in real life, and longitudinal methods enhanced by advanced 

statistical techniques, including structural equation modelling, growth curve mod- 

eHing, and wtrvival analysis ( Wflleu, Singer, and Martin 19&&), ConeJeyn and Uivten 

(2005) explain how approaches such as these make it possible 10 examine empirically 

the complcutyof psyebodynamic hypotheses. 

Equally gratifying is the recent introduction of evolutionary psychology to the 
psychology of religion. Lcc Kirkpatrkk (200511, 2005 b) has made 2 strong case that 
evolutionary psychology can serve tS an overarching mcta- theory that, in addition to 
already having demonstrated its power in the biological sciences, has the capability of 
subsuming under its large umbrdJa a number of psychological models and theories 
that arc smaller in scope. For example, he has explained how a number of Hie well- 
known ideas in recent pj^hology of religion research such as intrinsic versus 
eurinsic quest religious onentation (Batson, Schoenradc. and Ventis 1995), funda 
mencahsm (Aheraever and Hunsberger, 2005), the tendency to make supernatural 
attributions (see Spilka er at 2005, for review), and spiritual intelligence (Emmons 
1999, 2000), each of which lias its own database and explanatory reach, mav be able 
stand both time and test and fit within a larger system of mim-rnodcls as well a* 
mid-IevH theoriessuch as stUchment theory (Kirkpatrick 2005** Granqvi* 2006, bv 
meeting a «t of criteria for an adapiivc process. Key to his argument is that it is not 
suftMent merely to say that a process is adaptive. It is necessary to explain why it 11 
Tk system of logic offered by Kirkpatrick combined with recent ps^hodvnamJc. 
mid-levd. and mmi-roodel theories, may be able to accomplish the vision 
to Jong as the right soru of data are available. 


The recent methodolopcat advances may be rich enough to allow this. No Jongct 

ernpmaJ studies in the psycholu^ of religion carried out only by giving 

questionnaires to people and calculating mo-order correlations among all po.stblc 



afflW^mrfvaiBbMHunri*^ m % Irntcd. we now have a menuofboth 

quantuatrveand quahfatrve approach™ Tor l.mkingat rdmor, both l, n I < 

r« , gl ous person. 11k jMtata » pproath „ rcflcct t]M , radl|j J u ~* f 
d^ivc approach ,n the nature of the data coated. The „udS JpZ^Z 

MOC, and allow for dewded exaction of the phenomeno,^ of re L> 711 
«W to see it a, , * seen by the eapericnttng person. Such Jg arc often Leo 
on the researchers intcrpreta.ton of a descripIioJ1 rf ^ 

dcteffliaic **«^« '»«<• "h,oh bfe tod pieces of information are placed. 
Hood and Ikkcn U005) tllustrate ho W it b lhe COfnbifuIior of ^ » 

grves us the nch blend rf data *,!■ « need i. order to g « . gl, mpwof lhc a(mpfe ^ 
u I 8 rr al T" ° Ws,HaKk » «"*»«"■ for- number of ^ 

southern Mate*. What has been fcamed comes from Mudies with open-ended inter- 

v,™ .tnd phenomenol 0gl -«| mchods to identify theexpcrierKc of lundhng S erpen« 

from the handler* perspective {WiUhmson, Polio, and Hood iD oo). tkcLpL 

kgted measures of handlers in the laboratory (Bunon , mk „ wti t^Jf lhe 

haidktt tradition (Hood. >n pre«). videotaping of a number of serpent-handling 

senses of the same group over an extended period of time (Hood-Wilhamwit 

Archive for .Serpent-Handling Sect! of Appalachi.). which allow, fo, longitudirul 

studtes to be conducted, and participant observation (Hood and Kimkough 1995) 

Add to tins the possibility of lime-ampling subjects' meatd creota and behariours 

both in vn-D and under random assignment experimental manipulations, invoking 

emol>onal states and/or memori« mimicking those before, during, and after real 

services by erther role-play or hypnotic induction procedure*, and the pkt„ re that 

emerges of thcpsychological meanings involved m religion, wrpent handling become? 

much mote intricate and complete. I'unher, the use of multiple mohods facilitates 

multiloelintradisciplinaryand interdbciplinaiv- research (Silberman 2005b). 

Methodological Pluralism 

Arguments have been made in favour of one or the other approach. I think, however, 
that the issue of whether the quantitative or the qualitative approach gel* us closer to 
the tenth about the psychological meaning of religion is akin to the problem of 
whether the chicken or the egg came first. 1-ortunately. Corveleyn and Luytcn (2005) 
argue for a methodological pluralism whereby those who use one approach would see 
the other as complementary and cross-fcrtiliring. They muz their case this way. 

I W|e believe that the easting divide between a hermeneutic. inteipreiive approach . ajid 
a (iieo-)posiiivistk approach, is not only to .1 brgc extent .lrtifiaol, hut also unfruitful. .. 
There is no (quasi-tapcrimenial march without previous thcuririiig and subsequent 
mierprctaijon. Likewise-. interpntatioM can and should lie cJupihealty tested.. . . UTieicts .1 
can be said that much Iguosi- lexperiniental research in the psyerujkigy ■>: religion conorns 
impeccable sntdies of nothing very much.' many intrrpretive sruditt itt mlinrrabk to the 

.rrtiquc thai jnvihini: p<v«' in uich Mutiiev Hence, inrtwd of swing ihtu? approaches fa 
conflicting Ifccj tooM ntbct be *ecn « completing c*ch oihcr, with much possibility of 

mutual «)fKfnTtcni fC-o/veteyn ind Layten 3005: R?-A) 

The Question of Meaning 

Scholars hive recently proposed that (lie concept of religion as a meaning system 
provides a common Language capable of connecting diwTse areas of psychology f 
religion research (Park and Folk-ran 1997^ Park 200511; SiIbcTman 2005*1). Quc&liom 
of meaning axe lypically construed as theological or philosophical but they arc also 
and, perhaps fundamentally, psychological question*. When wc ask what some- 
thing meaju, we are asking what it sEancIs for. what its implications are, what hi 
Kpresrniarioru and connections are in the human mind (BaumcUccr 1991; Wone 
anct Fry i*fjS: Park 2005* Silbcrman zixxbl Meaning is always in relation to 
Wftflhiflg else. Thus, to ovale a theory* of ihe psychological processes in rdigtous- 
ncss that captures ihr bean and sou! of what it is about, we need io answer 
the question of racaiiincV meaning in religion, because religion is essentially 
about meaning. By extension, then, whether we're talking about religious experi- 
ence (Hood 1005). religious development (Boyatzis 2005; Levenson. Aldwin. and 
1 M«flo 2005; Mcfadden. 20051. religious actions (Donahue and Nielsen 2005; 
Spilka 2005). the neurological processes mvolved in religious experience (Ncwberg 
and Nnvberg 200s), coping I Parte aoosW, religious processes in physical and 
mental health (Miller and Kdlty 2005; Oman and "Ifaorescn 2005), or the role of 
religion in international terrorism and peace efforts (Silbcrman 2005c). w c are 
invoking questions about meaning. 

I can but sketch a brief picture of what a meaning system is. Since ihcre are 
different accounts of ineaning systems (e.g. Park and r-olkmars 1997; park 2005a; 
Silbermu) 20D$*3, even if they share a common core {diagrammed well by Park 
aooswi. I will present m^^-nsocial-psychoJogical way of construing it (Palouioan 
A meaning syitem is a structure within a human cognitive system that 
includes attitudes and belief values, focused goal orientations, more general overall 
purposes, sd^definition. and some focus of ultiraaic concern. Each dement affects 
the others, so thai when pressure is imposed on one component of the system ( e g. a 
person who holds one iet of rdjgious bdicfe is introduced to beliefs of a different 
religion and is encouraged to convert J. the beliefs that are under pressure confront 
.ntomunor. already in the other dements of the system, and if changed in the 
direction of the pressure may become inconsistent with them. If the inilial bdiefs 
rrcsttum enough, the tics among the element* of the system sustain belief md 
be pressure to change, ffcit if reliance capabilities have not developed, the 
*sure cm the bdiefc may be strong enough to dent or topple other elements of the 
Tbu a meaning system can be modified in one or more asneei(s). Any 
modincanon amah** some amount of transformation of the meaning .vstem. 
When the degree of change reaches a certain thread, we call it religious conversion. 

I, At whole system is replaced by a completely different one. .her, we consider it a 
dramat.c spin.ud rransforrnatron. the relatively rare CMmpferrf .he r-dJcd convert 
U„„ g this bnef portr,,, rffe. .he model of reHgion Z a n™ g ™ ^ 
undertmd rriipam common, and sp.ri.ual taMfoimrfwB, it ,s easy to cttrapo- 
| a ,e and apply this model to all aspects of rtfcgrnusness, from the mie» .neuro- 
psychology Of reborn c,per.en«) ,„ lhc „ Kn (rdijjfalu mo6n&m ,„ 
fwOfiOBM o. vrolcnee and terrorism). It may be possihle .ha. an eampofafion of 
this model might serve some of the need* Kfefafa, the science-religion dialogue. 

The Path and the Role of the Psychology of Religion 

Inherent in what we do arc the fourth and fifth integrate themes. Le. the path and 
the rale of the psychology of religion. The very process of doing this science means 
IhU we cither arc, or hope to be, on a path that goes somewhere worth our time. We 
hope that this includes development of the science itself, and in a way thai feeds and 
draws from other fields, litis has often been said, but now we have a bbel foe si 
paradigmatic idea I the multilevel interdisciplinary paradigm) and 4 common lan- 
guage for religion that is capable of facilitating cross- fertilisation of diverse research 
areas (religion as a mining system) to help us see better where to go. Closely related 
to this, the role of the psychology of religion is usually said to include the comribu- 
tion of something unique to general psychology m 6 the generation of knowledge 
that can be translated into application for human good. These goals seem to be 
fostered hy these recent disciplinary advances. 


Three of the five integrative themes seem straightforward: the path of the research, 
the role of the psychology of religion, and the methods-theory- method* feedback 
loop. No matter what topic area we work in. we are somehow engaged in these 
processes. The other two are prvoul, Upon them the success of the others hinges. The 
multilevel interdisciplinary paradigm and the model of religion mh meaning system 
may be intellectual devices that can foster more expansive research programmes and 
more visionary theoretical integration. If so. they will also have enhanced the 
contribution of the psychology of religion to the science-religion dialogue. 

What Lies Beyond the Boundary? 

A conversation about the relationship between science jnd religion proper K ha.-, 
boundaries ihut would place some questions or activities within the scope ol' ihe 

dialogue and other quetiiom or activities outride of it. All of the above di^ussjon fail. 

properly within the diaJoguc. Hownir, thcrca*ntic'kihdof question llial liesouUrdctlw 
taundary. and although asking it is honest, .md people have their hclids or disht'lirh 
about it, it i^ psych ologicallv and scientifically speaking, not answerable — wc will never 
reach closure on it. I am referring to <jucsrioni lib: whether prayer cure* disuse or 
makes people psychologically healthier under conditions in which the one bcine prayed 
for has no knowledge that he or she is being prayed for. Activities of this sort, ce 
inducting experiments to tot for long distance prayer effects, rcfleci an 'experimental 
theology of miracles' thai i. ... I doomed from the dirt This amounts to trying to 
conduct an espchmem to test whether God does what one ads. 

1 think that no outcome of such an experiment is scientifically meaningful. "I"hi$ « 
because, unless lam missing tornething. it is not possible to state a valid theological 
process Ibaa might mediate any "effects* that mighl occur Another illustration ti 
evident in a paper I rejected for publication in The International Jvurnal /or the 
Psychology of Religion. (IH change the particulars, but the gist of the story h true } 
The authors had collected data on whether praying for someone to behave and feel 
differently on the job (without the target person knowing that he or she was being 
prayed for, using a double bluid method) produced changes in behaviour and 
feelings in that person, compared to a control group that was not prayed for. Besides 
die differences between groups being nonsignificant,, the paper could have been 
sdcmifically interesting, escepi that there wa* no way the authors could write a non- 
miracle-laden psychological model for why such effects would be hypolhcsi?ed. Were 
effects lo be found, what social-psychological processes would explain them? If no 
effects were t'oynd. what theory is falsified? Scfence is a game of creating good theory 
and at docs not seem possible to create a good scientific theory about the effects of 
prayer | i.e. in this instance, testing to see if God intervenes upon request) because of 
the nature of what is prayed for (i.e. something that is God's decision), what prayer is 
theologically, and to whom the prayers are addressed. 

To clarify: central to the idea that good science requires at least the possibility of 

creating a good theory to explain phenomena is the idea that predictions must be 

falsifiabie. TTiis means that if the data come out in a way opposite to one's hypothesis, 

one must be able and willing to say. 'My idea about the process was wrong. This 

means, for eaample, that if heart surgery patients randomly assigned to be prayed for 

are rrypothoued lo get weJI better or faster or in greater numbers than a non prayer 

control group | e,g. current research by H. Benson, reported in Myers 2005). it hits to 

be possible lo produce data that would discount the model of the process (Gods 

decision 1 said lo be involved. The problem with experiments of the tvpc noted above 

that the God to whom the prayers are addressed {who. the model" hypothesizes, 

she outcomes in the pnryed-for group) can do anything il warm and is 

presumably never wrong. Simply put, God decides. 

The unimcrpretability becomes crystal clear when We realize that when people 

pay to God to heal their ,id. loved-onc, for example, they almost always mclude 

saying tf n be your wuT or words mSkl to those But when this is added l» the 

I bets (and scientific e«ts) « off. All psychologically valid bases for 

" ,M ^'" l, ^^<"V E UNM,, GIUN 


hypothesizing any particular outcome m a 0JK q^ ntmMM . . 

jwnrcnes« (i.e. Gad docsn ( have to hforrn Mime™* „f ih . . P * 

«* . m tfmc (no., ma „ y y . rs .... r^L^ n ::^ ;;; h r b 

fifteen years), ria any method, through any vehicle a-TlT * ? ^ 

knowledge. In other word,, by theverVnaL „/ h tl °J WTh, " ,r "*»* 

addreJ. o M gives up having ^25£fc e^^S * «"" " 
empirically m for an outcome. No JZ £££££ ~ T^ S 

because Ihc process cannot be assessed or discounted 

number of boundary and one of them is whether the KfidJ* of JJLtea « a cl"m 
abou a process can be asse^ed A foundation for d„ ing ^^ fa whe , ™™ 
oreobte £** the process. good ,W rellgi on diafoguc would seen, Z 
rest upon the same foundation. 


I?— 11 — 

The psychology of religion has developed to such a degree during the past quarter- 
century that us contributions to the science-religion dialogue are competing. The 
boundaries wuhin .he subd.sciplincs of psychology ate diminishing, and in Ad. 
place m see the nse of research that pulls together idea* from previomh. isob.ed of wort Sinnlarly, aoss-fertrlization of psychological research with *U«d liekfe 
has mcrcased and this trend will continue. It is as if ,he golden ring is bcgL™ , 
take shape w«C that we may soon be able .o recognize rts beaut)' 

An .mportant picture of human beings is inserted into the dialogue bv the most 

recent research that comes ou. of this area It h not a particularly rational picture For 

example, the research in clinical, personality, and social psychology that leads to the 

devdopmen. of the model of religion as a mending system suggests ,hat perhaps we 

do not arrive at our conclusions about reality or out pkiures of .he world tw means 

ol a purely rational process ro!lo«-ii* g the sieps of Aristoidian logic. Perhaps .he 

questions we are posing cannot be answered in the form in which we are asking ihcm 

Where there are only parts, our perceptual system want* to sec a whole. Thu-, 

human, have a mental structure tha. guides our perccp.ion of the dements that 

feed this dialogue, and our capacity lo attribute meaning helps us understand how 

« come to set certain conclusions or inferences. But .he research that instructs us 

about Mich workings of the human mind says that the process is psychological, not 

necessanly (purely) logical. Instead, we may think what we think conclude what we 

will, and Am construct a rationale and basis lor holding u. and perhaps a meaning 

Iwhind it. This is logically independent of whether ihe meanine is actually th,.,- 



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Searching for the Sacred 

5odaI order is precdrious. and nowky, inspiration.anddcMwcMb^espcci^siilwer 

sn« OT even destructive. &>cio]ogy has long foe used, therefore, on the problem of order. 

why thenr is so much of it or, under other condition*. 50 litde? h search of answers to 

both of these questions, sociologists of religion investigate the sacred When a social 

SfOm U-gias to emerge from the flux of everyday life, it develops bounties that 

separate it Irum those outside, i signiry the continuity of certain relationshtps over 

lime, to give them an identity., and to mark their difference from other relationships, 

social systems define ihenucrfts m symbols, construct thernserves through ritwb, and 

realize Chenuerves through praclkes. When friendships and ferniEcs. commumties and 

eihnic groups, dam and entire peoples, insiitutions, corporations, and naiioa-slatcs, 

ckim for themselves a eapfte% IQ iranscend the passage of time, their symbols, rites. 

and practices take on the quality of the sacred. Whether it is called the numinous or the 

holy, charisma or mana. the iacred is always somewhat mysterious, even when it 

becomes embodied in a stone or a plant, a person or a word, a practice or a in] 1 

lite, an institution or an entire society Always by implication, and often explicitly, those 

who remain outside the sacralized social system are regarded as belonging 10 a world 

that will not transcend the passage of lime. Thai external world, beyond the pale of the 

: ;'- rL,d - * r; "-- refcgited tc th menj) temporals urafefc to ftand trw ten of lime, 

world of the secular is headed irre\t<ab<y toward death. No one is more aware 1 1 

the tatal implications of being excluded fn>m the sacred than the Muslim* in lerusalem 

moo, as this essay is being written, witn ess evangelical Christians in Jerusalem displaying 

two Urge Mono inscribed as 'cornerstones of the third temple". Tb initiate me building 
of ibis icmpkon the Temple Mouni tf their goal, «ld such Mi miti.iiivc wfJl inevitably 
resuli in an Armageddon sized hanle in the Middle fast Thai is the effect of ihc^credr 
10 consign jlJthat i* beyond it* boundaries 10 extinction. Of course, there arc often Lv, 
violent manifestation* of the ttded that reflect thi r.iult lines m any society that 
distinguish men from women, the old from the young, the relatively nobJe and powerful 
from the iclatitYry poH^riessand ignoble, the <>r<i.iined from the lay, the collective from 
the? merely individual, the magnificent from tlic Wherever the line is drawn 
between the wcrrd adS the vcular. however, it is only chose within the precincts of the 
sacred who haw a purchase ou eternity and will therefore transcend the passage of tone 
Time is always and everywhere air each* running qui on the remainder. 

In all oi its manifestations -whether personal or social* natural or supernatural, the 
sacred provides onJy d hnttud embotittnent of unfulfilled possibilities. What might well 

be called the upper-case Sacred then, or the Sacred itself, comprises the set of all 

posabihiies that any social system must necessarily exclude. To the extent that a 

society defines uwlf over and against nature, for instance, the Sacred may include 

nouCH . BDOUl animal spirits or the supernatural. Angels and demons h,TVff [one 

queried for inclusion in the Sacred, but they tend to escape direct sociological 

observation. To the extern ilut a .social system defines itself over and against the 

laindex of humanity, ihcrt. the Sacred will include all the subhuman and the 

superhuman. Centaurs and messiahs or kings returning from the tlead lut't also lone 

Tound a place in the Sacred, but these too tend to elude ihc attention of sociologists 

of religion, who confine themselves to the study of understanding and explaining the 

ways in which social worlds ufcc on a life of their own, become mysterious; and 

authoritative enough to ask for tribute or even sacrifice, and consign those outside 

their parameters to a world mat it at best temporary and is always destined Co 

disappear or be destroyed How do religious institution"*, clearly "nun-made' take 

on sacred ■uthorirv 

To ask how a humanly constructed social universe takes on the aura of the Sacred, 
inspires devotion, and requires sacrifice is still necessary, whether one lives under a 
constitutional, disine-righi monarchy or in a messianic nation with a volunteer 
army. It is even more pressing when those who claim for themselves a monopoly 
on the sacred relegate even their co-religionists to a secular world that h passing away 
and call for a holy war. an Armageddon, that will purify the world once and for tl 

"he Sacred as Subversive 

... — ,..„ 

Noi every motif, of course, enshrines traditional authority or call*, for sacrifice. In 
»roe societies. p TO plc IC nd (o leave ihc dead behind relatively easily. gather tv.ji s and 
berries, hunt for the occasional small animal, treat women reasonably well, viand on 

wacnoor aw KB II P I ON 155 

rtry ht.le ceremony, and leave li.Uc- behind in The **y ( monnmentt ()n ^ 
travefc they may be accompanied ^fmmm with . gift for seeing who or what I 
coming; these .specialists ,n the Sacred knosv how to invest^ *nd cnliin an™ 
„ « abrupt departure. Ukcsha^n, ^ dirwl ^eZ a^f^S v 
■hat .nay or may not be fulfilled m arty given rime cr place, prophet, «„d seen suggest 
W a r,d,„on a | ,oe,ety from i«sp W for ,h, sakeof a future in wh.j 1 the 
to W very hkrfy be the las, Where soe-al order h moribund or scarce. dSmS 
traders may surest that ,. is t,«e lor the dead to bury the dead, and may announce a 
nascent Maety emerging u, the midst of the old (Wilson „„,. Certainly charismatic 
leaden may pose a threat even to a social ard er xlul b fmriy cohwm ^ ^ 
mobtlKine resentment and by , r „jduc f perennially umealisfc „Z 
anon for sauifactions that most civilizations are umMc or unwilling to provide 

When sociologists of religion into .he ways in which the sacred disrupts a 
society or enables ,t to make effective claims on the loyalty and affections of its 
numbers, they are seeking to understand religion by investigating its effects. A 
function .l<t analysis of this sort is implied whenever the sacred is discussed at a 
polar opposite of the secular or the profane. The effect of sacking a way of life or 
an a community or an entire nation, is 10 relegate whatever is excluded 
from the sacred io the secular world thai b always and everywhere already passing 
away, h is also to lake the mystery from the profane world outside the sacred, since its are everywhere open to inspection: no Sunday, then no Monday; no 
temple (Janus), then no profane (pro-/d «s). As societies create the sacred, so they 
also create its opposite in a world that is pacing *wa V and jesen-es no reverence 
whatsoever. The function of the sacred, (hen, is to create that which will not stand the 
lest of time and is therefore expendable, but the purely secular or profene then 
becomes not only a by-product of the sacred, but its enemy. 

For sociologists of religion, then, the problem of order requires an investigation 
into Ihc tension between the sacred and the secular or profane. If sociologists tend to 
regard the social order itself as the epitome or origin of the sacred, they are likely to 
see the individual as a derivative of social onto thai can become it* antithesis. If it is 
manhood that is sacralued, then ii is womanhood thai becomes the derivative and 
potential negation of manhood, and so on for nobility and commonness, elders and 
the young, the collective and the merely personal, society and the individual. That b 
why, in searching for threats to social order, sociologists have long focused on the 
varieties of individualism that in any society may foster deviant and subversive 
convictions {Lukes 1985K Ihc sacred is thus the source of social order and yet sows 
the seeds of disorder and negation. 

Conversely, to explain why there is so much otder, sociologists may investigate ihe 
ways in which ritual* of conversion or exorcism separate individuals from their own 
most intimate convictions and desires. No rituals Ate able fully or permanently to 
replace the individual's psyche with ■ prescribed mentality. Thai is why socioJogista 
also investigate die longings, perceptions, and viewpoints that remain outside the realm 
of ritualized self-understanding, experience, and speech cBetl 1997; Rappaport w».l. 
Because language frames a sense of pouibility, sociologists of religion have studied the 

W^inwtl^Klipousiritt!nitioii»3iilhari»CSOJW speakers at the expense of ot her 
the lura'ts on what can be said, renicmbetcd, or hoped for. suppress awareness, nf desire 
pone or reject certain possibilities for satisfaction, define collective memory 1.1,1 
.inlid|u1iun. .ind ante a community defined by the reach of the word. 

The Sacred in Tension with Religion 

There is thus another reason why the sacred is always sowing the seeds of its own 
destruction. Oft to put it more formally, why any functionalist analysis of the sacred is to end up in a dialectical argument. Because the sacred always points beyond 
tod'f to possibilities that the social order can scarcely acknowledge or include, the 
sacred is always potentially subversive or antmomian. That is why it needs to be 
amuined, ..iid >i is one function of religious institutions to provide such contain- 
ment. Thus every social order is haunted by excluded possibility, and every form of 
language has meanings that point to suppressed desires, aspirations, and longings. 
Because sacred speech evokes the presence of invisible authorities and gives voice to 
oppressed or excluded possibilities, religious institutions authorize some utterances 
and place others in a barbarian limbo beyond the reach of known language. Some 
have the right to speak on behalf of spiritsof the dead, while others intone as if it were 
the dead themselves or a god who is speaking. Those who have ears to hear but 
cannot hear, or whose presence is uncalled for, are beyond the pale of communica- 
tion 1 Moore zooo). However, when religion loses its monopoly on and control over 
tbe sacred, hitherto unheard of possibilities become common parlance. 

To control language is thus to control an awareness nf possibility. In traditional 

societies, where religious beBcfc and practices determine who can talk about specific 

sub-sects at various times and places, sociologists must study religion if they are to 

understand power and the rules for linguistic engagement. In highly ritualized 

socKtks, those rules place severe limits on who can say what, and words themselves 

operate within relatively narrow semantic limits. The possibilities enshrined m a 

sense of the sacred may be very limited, while pointing beyond themselves to a world 

of possibility that is intended to remain permanently enshrined in mystery bevond 

the range of speech and thought. Whatever religion defines to be unutterable remains 

in a world of possibility beyond the reach of all except an elite with access 10 secret or 

tnnwkdge. Especially where religious language controls public awareness, 

there is much that necessarily goes without saying, whether because it is implicit or 

town for granted, or because it is prohibited (Bkxh 1989). 

VVherever religion permeates all other aspects of the social system, anyone who 

breaks the rules governing «cred speech and language may therefore pose a serious 

• Cd or eamonuc thteai and destabilize receded not.ons of affinity and kinship. In 

the .,6os a younger generation to Western democracks burned (lags or wore them on 

'LOOT UNO «F| |..|C>N 


U, f seats of their panto, refused pledges, sat i„ p^initcd public places, interrupted 

.u.ori.y or J a jjjjj r undermto^^ £„ T^Z^ 

and control ol sacred speech: PcntecostaLs are always a threat ,0 those who seek o ■ monopoly on «cred language. Less but still potcnt.allv 
subversive are those who. libera, or secular interpreters of the Bible. JS3 
the literal or onginal meaning of sacred language and trade ,n allegory or metaphor 

imagine what had been urumagmabfc may be accused of ,«„*■ m , lgic 10 £J, hmw 
religion, tous, after al, wasaccuscd of having a demon. Certainly in modern societies 
rfgtoia institution, have lost thexr monopoly on the sacred, which is now found in 
New Age rcb t , :ic , ioi . MgiS> in fi , m4 ^ ^ ^ fc ^ ^ 

Harry Potter series, in sports, and m political claims to religious authenticity 

AS many social Systems develop cybernetic characterise*, they make themselves up 
as they go along, and constitute themselves by acts of communication over great 
distances among people who are relative strangers .0 each other. The sacred has escaped 
from the control of rehgious authorities and. Li cylwrnetk social systems especially, 
expands the range of what people arc able or allowed to imagine or conceive With the 
HCred now maming at brgc it is very difficult for any modem social system to keep the 
gene of unfulfilled possibility confined within the limit of traditional religion. That is 
why, m modernizing societies, charismatic speech of the sort associated with Xentecos. 
talism becomes widespread and carries within it a potential for accelerated social 
change. That may also be why charismatic speech seems to its cricks to be a form of 
magical thinking at odds with a reality long circumscribed by traditional religion. 

Tbe possibilities contained in the sacred increasingly escape the control of reli- 
gious institutions. In literature, the media, and Ac arts, as well as through popular 
jwychoiherapeutic practices, individuals increasingly have access to a mythical realm 
of ghosts and demons, to sublime or ecstatic experience, and to the symbols of the 
unconscious. Even when sacred speech is highly ritualized and is uttered only in the 
right way and at the right times and places by the right people, however, it can only 
point beyond itself to a world of possibility that will ncser. until the last word is 
spoken, be completely realised. Even the Christian Eucharist a a meal that looks 
forward to a final, cschatological feast. 

The Sacred as a Code for Violence 

Al some level, societies know that they are based on the foreclosure and postponed 
fulfilment of possibilities for both life and death. Every social system has to eliminate 
or control animal spirits, create an index of impossible or prohibited satisfactions. 

defied violence on la safe domestic or foreign targets, and comrol affection And 
hatred fee both the tiling and the dead. Sociologists of religion investiga-v the ways Jr, 
whiih these possibilities arc coded and concealed in religion* bdief and practice 
Sacred rites contain a sign that violence has been done. Even when the horns of a 
n beast arc placed on the altar, where thev hnld out hope that life may yet return 
and food again be abundant for a £uihful people, they inevitably signify that life ha* 
come to a violent end. The sacred always oilers only a tory limited embodiment of 
unfulfilled possibility 'Fcrui 2001) 

Thus religious rituals may deter to the past or project into the future whatever mav 
be loo much for any community or society hilly to experience or acknowledge in the 
present That is why sociologists haw long been interested in the ways in which, 
through implicit knowledge, a people may keep ft conspiracy of silence over the 
violence in their history. Communities and societies suppress knowledge of the 
violate, or the threat of violence, on which they are based. The potential fm 
fratricidal haired may be coded as the memory of .in act of violence: a Romulus 
killing a RcmuK a C*m .. an Abet- Rtgicidal and patricidal passions mav be 

coded in the myth or memorv of a slain kiny whose death initiates a kingdom that 
awaits his perennial return. Regardless of the historicity of these myths, they signify 
that the sacred ha* a guilty secret; eg. undying hatred, longing for a prohibited 
alliance, or the memory of an ancestor, for instance, who killed an Egyptian. Through 
religious myth, opposing passions are coded as possibilities that have been regretted, 
postponed, or foregone and remain perennially unfulfilled. Religious myths mav 
acknowledge a history of infanticide in stones about aborted or prohibited child 
sacrifice, just as religious rites of initiation may enact the symbolic drowning or 
castration of a child, and revivaU or exorcisms may enact spiritual attacks on tlie 
psyche of deviant individuals. Religious rites may therefore conceal as much as they 
convey. Lnrtd filled possibility lends the aura of the sacred to the rite, while conceal- 
ing ordisTracling attention from thcauiutluy of violence. 

There is something that remains hidden Or incomplete about many rites: an 
dement of unknowing or misrecognition that allows the participants to take pan 
in what some have called 'a comedy of innocence! Thus, among some peoples, the 
ingestion of bitter herbs may well code the memory of cannibalism, just as ritualised 
lynching, the killing and burning of African Americans, has impressed some obser- 
vers as hanng had cannibalistic associations and overtones (Patterson 1998). '|"hc 
same comedy of ianocerKe may be enacted in rites of initiation in which not only 
symbols and words but also gestures make references to the death of the young 
initial and in at least one initiatory rite, both the men and the women of the village 
cha« the young through the strwu shouting "Kill, kill, kill: Many rites of initiation, 
m opening the way to a new bfe, also enact the symbolic death of the mhimd. Some 
participants may be lets aware than others that they are targets of partially disguised 
resentment, even when they engage in public displays of their unworthiness, uinlhr 
shaming rituals o(^ new king or, in modern electoral campaigns, of a candidate for 
high public office. Of many such sacrifice it may he said that they know not what 
they do. 

■v^iuiubr ANI> RECKWQN 


The Sacred as Code for Possib 


In ,11 of its manifestations, whether personal or natural or supernatural, tfac 
sacred provide* a Iwttted rnieWvmrnr of unfulfilkd potabilities, especially those 
-,>riatcd with pass or future violence. Some of these pwfeifities preserve and 
enhance life, or, in religious terms, constitute H fvaik>n' : good health, knowledge of 
the future, satisfaction of grievances, the fulfilment of desires, and even a measure 
of justice. However, the sacred also offers a limited embodiment of other possihil 
ftfe that fire threatening to life ifeett protectfon from violence, demonic influences, 
disease, a reversal of fortunes, the protracted disappointment of old grievance*, 
possession by malign spirits, the frustration of desire, resentment over rank 
injustice, and sudden death. Thus the sacred always offers onlv a Swift 
embodiment of these as yet unfulfilled possibilities for both death and life, salvation 
and destruction— indeed, for the fulfilment or devastation of every human need 
and aspiration. 

The devotee ts given only a foretaste of the benefits and a promise of more to come 
U a reward for devotion, fidelity, and obedience. Similarly, the sacred offers onlv j 
limited embodiment of the possibilities that are inimical to life itself; otherwise 
contact with the sacred would be fatal or lethal. That is why, of course, only a prie« 
who has attained the highest levels of purity would have been allowed tp approach the 
Holy of Holies in the Temple at Jerusalem, contact with which was thought inevitably 
to be fatal to the unworthy and impure. As religious institutions become less able to 
contain the sacred within the constraints of ritual and orthodox belief and practice, 
demands increase for the reversal of the social order, for the satisfaction oflongings 
and grievances, for the cancellation of old debts, and for the beginning ot a new age in 
which the impossible and the unspeakable become ordinary speech and aspiration. 
What is often decried as a widespread and popular tendency to feel victimized and to 
pour out resentment on uncaring, usually liberal' or 'secular', elites is pan of this 
release of pent-up religious resentments no longer contained within religious rites. 

Because the sacred embodies only unfulfilled possibilities, it always points beyond 
itself to the full range of possibilities for either salvation or destruction. This set of all 
possibilities, both actual and hypothetical, I call the Sacred, and it is to the sociology 
of religion what dark matter is to astrophysicist*, or the god above the god of theism' 
is to theologians. Direct exposure to all the possibilities contained in the Sacred 
would of course stagger the mind and the imagination. Who can stand in the 
presence of the deity, the Sacred itself? That i* why the deity is best approached in 
the form of the lowercase sacred, since it is crucial that the entire range of possibil- 
ities for both life and death itself remains unfulfilled if even limited access jo them is 
to be granted. Otherwise* as the apocalypltc imagination has long known, were these 
possibilities for salvation or destruction to be fulfilled, the end would have come. 
That is why the sacred is the object of awe, fascination, fear, devotion, and allegiance: 
in Durkheim s view la vie strausr. By postponing the fulfilment of' the most extreme 
possibilities, the sacred thus htivs time' for the social svstem; bv makiiic a small 

down payment of sacrifice, it gets j purchase an eternity for ihc social order. 
However, when apocalyptic movement-* e,.iin widespread opportunity in lewish 
tank, and Christian societies, tho ^-mry thai the social system may be increas-' 
ing[y umblc I© buy rime by keeping people wailing for their various satisfactions 

The failure of am system to fulfil aspirations for security and comfort, health and 
honour, inevitably creates resentment. So does the tendency of any social system to |* 
based on rev • mbolic violence to the individual It is the function of ritual, a s 1 
have suggested, both 10 disguise and exprcv* that violence and to inure a population to 
the incurably partial fulfilment of their desires. Put more simply, ritual expresses, 
disguises, defiects.and offers partial satisfaction of the resentment caused by the social 
order itself. When riiuals M to buy time for a social order, as in rhe decades prior to 
the rfvfl war in Palestine in 66-93 cf, apocalyptic enthusiasms become exceedinclv 
difficult to contain. Contemporary apocalyptic movements signify that formal, trad- 
itional rirc* are kss able than ever to persuade many to sacrifice their desires, their 
longings for power and recognition, and ihctrcLrim* on life itself. The failure of ritual 
to offer temporary relief for resentment over unsatisfied longings and grievance* 
increases demand for a final turning of the tables, when the last will be first. 

Rituals and the Reality Principle 

'■"" — -11-HE.l 

The sacred ihui provide a oodr for rhe sociaJ system that defines the limits of 
Icptuiuie aspiration, Jn providing partial and selective access to limited embodi- 
ments of poMibailies that must remain unfulfilled lest they in fact dissolve the social 
nHrt. ritual* perform an important social function; what used to be called main- 
lenance of the reality-principle. When rituals work, they redireel intergenerational 
hos.til.ty to safer largets within a generation, such as rivals for office* thai represent 
pamarchal spiritual or political authority. Without adequate riiiufeaiioh. these 
conuKU take to the streets, shed Wood, import reinforcements from outside the 
synem, an d degenerate into civil war (Lincoln 1985). Therefore it is not 
-retching a point to suggest that rituals are an evolutionary universal that have 
helped some societies to avoid sdf-dcitruction. 

The less refigiori isablc to monopolize u K sacred, the more a society will be haunted 
by an aw Moi of unfulfilled posribilily. Even in traditional societies, the sacred is vert 
difficult to contain or demarcate difficult . that is. to 'instituiiMaliie'. Because the living 
so often have unfinished cnobarul or financial business with persons who hi* died, 
the dead become objects of fear or devotion. The less religion is al>lc to contain and 
«jM rain the sacred, the more difficult it becomes for formal rituals to eonton or fulfil 
all the sennmenu attached by the Jiving to the dead, or ,o confine apparitions of the 
dad toonlv OR* time, and p.acesdunng the year. Even in societies where religion 
doe monopoly the sacred, affecW fa, those who d« young are especially difficult to 

iwi.ioiocy ANIi 



contain in M ntcs- that » why thc.r spi^ are so often experienced a, dar*™ or 
demon-c. »nd why so many practices have been fated Be assuage their unMnlkd 

*!«.!*.*! mW ™ TT *\T h *? W *"** md "«*** ««"'«« -er 
unfulfilled longing whether for relief from fear and doubt or for a more abundant life 

the Mctcd may lake a wide range of UMU fhon«d shap^ from ghosts and demons to 
in^Tdualscbrmingsur^rnat.inl^wers of their own. A-scoveruinU are written on the 
hear' rather than on tablets of stone or in sacred tew, (be social iwem'l reality 
principle' becomes increasing)- difficult to locate or maintain, 

As more formal ritual* lose adherents and efficacy, wide area* of woa ] Hfe mav 
become serious", i.e. require devotion, elicit sacrifice and prorntse grot benefits to 
those who comply. Weber's interest in the Protestant ethic* reflects the development 
Offf character type and of social practices that required religious self-discipline in the 
midst of otherwise mundane social and economic activities. Contrast societies thai 
imtiiunonalize the sacred in formal rituals confined to certain times and pbces: in 
these societies much of everyday life remains unrealized, relatively uamtarf and 
therefore more open to utilitarian, pragmatic or self interested activities. Where 
rituabare highly formal and sharply distinguished from everyday life, some dramatic 
displays supporting the reality principle wiJj be highly lethal,, like the autas-da-fe in 
which humans were indeed sacrificed; other public cdcfaratioiis that attack the reality 
principle will be more orgiastic, like that of Mardi Gras. However in societies where 
more areas of social life are highly ritualized, much of the mundane becomes serious 
and subject to social discipline over both aggressive and erotic impulses. 

It is always difficult for religion to institutionalize the sacred. So protect such areas 
of evcmU life as the family, work, and politics from erratic and potent intrusions of 
unruly spirits, Jn societies where ritual offers highly limited and selective access eo the 
sacred only at very specific times, and places and under lightly controlled conditions, 
the sacred is highly institutionalized Even under these conditions, however, the 
sacred may take a variety of uniiuuiulinnalized forms: ghosts and demonic spirits 
thai inhabit wild places on the margins of the social order, individuals with extra- 
ordinary powers or whose impulses are demonstrably resistant to social contr. I and 
ascetics who prefer the desert or the forest to the monastery and the local church. The 
more a society relics on tightly bounded, formal rituals to institutionalize the sacred, 
the less disturbance the sacred may cause to everyday life and the mundane. 

De-institutionalizing the Sacred 
and Ritualizing Everyday Life 

The mare a society institutionalizes the sacred under professional control in limited 
limes and places, the more control and discretion individuals have over their own 
Actions in mundane areas of social life. Where the sacred is highly institutionalized. 

i.e restricted id formal ritual* alone, the more freedom is available in otber area* ni 
social lire for people to act as ihcir own agent* under their own authority, for ih UJ 
own purposes. -and in accordance with their own needy Activities become individu 
.ilistic rather th;in corporate goals become more personal than collective; ttartdaj 
become more msirurnenial than etttkali and orientations become far mnresecuji 
than religious. Vast areas of social fife arc therefore regarded a* secular and of merely 
temporal concern. Under these conditions rt is marc difficult for the larger society to 
imbue jr< 4 work and politics, fjinilv life and education, play 3r id contest, w j ln 
the values oi the sacred and to elicit sacrirktaJ motives and self disciplined perform- 
■Dce Entfce conduct of everyday life. What a society therefore gains in delimiting the 
sacred tu particular times and places and in embodying the sacred in specific persons 
and performances it lose* in the scope of the sacred* 

When the sacred is highly instiiuiionalivd in formal ntuaJs performed under 
professional control in specific and limited times and places, economic activity is 
subject to chance, to competition, and to the play of personal interest. This is Weber's 
point about various forms of capitalism uninformed by the Proics-lani ethic. These 
sorts of capitalism depended on winning bailie* or on risky voyages, and they suited 
societies where the sacred was highly institutionalized in certain formal riiL.ii, 
performed onh at certain times and places. In these societies wide areas of social 
life m worJc and play, in war and politics, were freed from ascetic disciplines, open \ 
taking, and subject therefore to chance and the play of extraordinary personal 
rues. Under the impact of Protest autism, however, more aspects of everyday life were 
ritualised v>d thus brought under the control of ascet.c sctf-Jiseiplines for mquirr 
aJ^nrvestrncnt Scientists could explore the msstcries of creation by invalidating ifa 
table of elements or inquiring into the movement of bodies or the stars, just as the 
kity couid investigate their own sacred mysteries by becoming able to read basic tttb 
m the vernacular or by working out their faith not only in fear and irtmbbng but bv 
the punctual and productive discharge of their debts and duties. 

So long m the sacred is highly institutionalized in formal rituaLs sharply demar- 
catrd from everyday life, the ilow of capital is likely to be difficult to predict or 
control h*h interest rates may be charged, and with social trust relatively low 
rconomic goaf* will be focused on the near future rather than the long term 
rikr these conditions, economic or politicaj activity is likely to be controlled by 
famines or ethnic fraternities that place constraints on opportunities to invest or to 
«W in novel form, of work and poiiuc*. However, when the sacred escapes from 
he tight control of institutions like the church, it legitimates and disciplines innov 
emreprencurship, and experimentation in a wide range of anas science and 
womic acuity during the sixteenth century, the interrelationships of races, 
genders, aod generations in the late twentieth century. 

When r the sacred is less well institutonalized. less contained in formal rituals 
performed only underpr, ■ ,™f control, the sacred become, an aspect of mund.. 
activity and everyday Hfe so much so that even the human person may come lo be 

**»«« beliefs and value* become relatively attract: witness current attempt 

the United Slates to ^ 

not share a set of values, bstractcdlydeftnetl a*a cuWof life' Abstract iomhke these 
may be code words for more highly limited notions, but the rhetoric itself, being so 
highly generalised, fails to define the sacred it seeks to encompass. Thus the semantic 
range of code words becomes contested in tile public arena. In the same way, the 
notion ofa'cuJture of life' may be intended to demoniac as death loving all tho*ewho 
are in favour ol a woman's right to an abortion, but it can also be used to attack those 
who favour ail evangelical war in foreign territory. What a religious culture gains in 
scope and flexibility under these conditions, it loses in relevance and specific 

As the sacred becomes less subject to institutional control, wide areas of social life 
may become more highly ritualized, in the sense that work becomes more subject lo a 
collective discipline, more responsive lo chains of command, its language more 
Smiled in the range of meaning, and its demands on the individual's identity, 
motivation, and allegiance more rigorous. It L s increastngh/ difficult to determine 
what aspects of social discipline arc intended simply to professionalize workers and 
which arc intended to socialize wider areas of the psyche, such as moods and 
motivations, attitudes, internal moral standards, and worfd-views. If at the wme 
time a society is undergoing a process of differemialion, in which the economy, work. 
and politics become relatively free from direct religious control and supervision, each 
area of social life may develop its own forms of the sacred. Bureaucracies sacraJue 
their own forms of organization regardless of the impact of mis process on their 
ability to achieve their slated goals; the nation also becomes an object of sacred 
allegiance; control over esoteric knowledge in science and industry gists technocracy 
tne aura of the sacred. 

The Emergence of the Individual 

In describing this process, in which areas of social life haw become not only 
increasingly differentiated but also sacralized. sociologists of religion have used the 
notion of secularization in ways that imply both necessary restriction-, on the 
authority and influence of religious institutions over the individual and the blurring 
of the boundary between the sacred and the profane (the dc- institutionalization of 
the sacred}. In this process* individuals are able to takea wider range of both religious 
and secular roles; the meaning of sacred symbols is stretched to cover a wider range of 
mundane situations; sacred stories arc embellished or replaced by narratives of 

secular provenance; the range of orthodox belief is expanded lo include personal 

opinion; and the meaning of parin.uLar words and symbols is more likely to become 
complex and multivalent. 

Societies differ in the extent to which the rituals that define and modify the lives of 
individuals over the course of a lifetime and in the various aspects of everyday life 

abo Jink them symbolically to the larger wriery. In some KKfefai individu.iJs tiik 
pan in a wide range of rituals thai may have little or no connection with the ritual 
thai proiidtrcoUocdvc5elf-dcfinilion.Soniclinw!i rather drspara^u^tyirotiokigtaar 
religion bine Libelled these rituals *<■ magic mid have reserved lie notion of rdiginn 
for those ritual* thai -ire more specifically collective in their scope and identity. Sam 
have nude a distinction between rites that evoke a highly transcendent deity and 
those shiit evnkc spirits that are more immediately accessible and more useful f or 
responding to a wide range of individual want* and complaints. Here again, one fin^ 
the notion that what sanctifies the agency of individuals and legitimates their 
demand* i* rdjiivdv secular, temporal, mundane, instrumental* or merely individu- 
afisQc wherc.u the sacred pertains to what expresses or is conducive to the legitimacy 
and effectiveness of the social system as a whole. Thus New Age religiosity, or the 
r*BSfa ' i tan authority and authenticity to individuals through such doctrines 
as the priesthood of all believers, has been considered by some sociologists to reflect 
the process of secularization. 

The Differentiation of Religion 
from Social Life 

Wong with the cfe-jintinttlDiiilizatiott of the sacred, sociologists have investigated 

the extent to which religion has become differentiated from the rest of the brace 

society. In high* dUfatmntot societies, religion no longer provides integration into 

tftc sooery a* a whole and becomes owe visibly a special interest; one pan lobby,™ 

alon* -ith all the other* for - & m G f public discourse, political influence, and sock? 

-ontrol Reiifm* rhetoric becomes increasingly double-coded. contestable, subject 

i a vancn ri mterpretarions, and of no obvions relevance to decision making under 

s^exmdmo^ Under these conditions, religion become* one of many voices , n 

: public TO one of many uibsysterm in a society, where it must compete for 

influence W ihc ecanomy, politic the family, and education, to name only a few 

other subsystems, 7 

'"«*** to determine the extern .„ which rdigion k fifierotitted from the rot 
ZsTT 1 S ° C,et)V ******* ra£ * a «"»>■»«■ orquKtions concerning .he extern .0 

USSsz rau f d ; ** buiiness *«*** i,ft: ■» *- - p«S «* 

E «S 1 ? ^ * a » J buaB «' ««* *** «"> money made; with the way ,ha, power 

-m^t^J. "7 T " '^^ ' ,nd MlTl ^ : *» ,he "*"* '° *•*» 
Z^v ESS 'i° rm ° f ' meSiment ^ ,han M a""™"" **»«* wit* 

other socct,* are .mapned and uea.ed: wi,h the way , hj , rfel«ce is disguised. 



ftfitKTION tfi 

.mposed. and justified; with the way that the pas, aw . . h . , _ ip 

„<,a triumph, And redemption; to control its law or tinlttv- t#> J„«. .u r 

fem» of social mv«r ffl c„ I; toqu al[ f, in<lmduj|s ^ for ^tofRnJZ 

other pos.Uons j yu« : a ^„m,« the dominance of one ge nder0 ve f ZS^w 
inmate the call for .wfawdual. .0 sacrifice then^elvc fnr thc ^ of fhc £ommu , 
n»y or larger society. ,,,,IU 

The m Qr e that religion is difTcrcntiated from o.her aspect of the social mtem , he 
nA K rehpon can put ,ts own docirin.1. cy mb olic and ritad house En nrd« w,,h„u, 
cor.ftjs.on caused by .nfluences, but .he fa, direct control it h« over socol 
in.tMut.ons, pol.ces. and practices. What te%ion ^^ ,„ m ^ ^ 

control. .1 tends .0 lose .n .ts capacity to influence .he larger society. Similarty, ,he 
more sys.emat.c and mnonaj religion become*, the more it is able to recogm** and 
pun»h discrepant behefe. devian, practice, and unauthorized sources of insp,r ilw n 
but the less it k able to cope with innovation and change. 

As a religicus syiiem becomes more highly d.fferen.ia.ed from o.her .ubsyscms. 
is behefs may become more clearly orthodo*. it, practitioners more disciplined m 
foUowm more compliant. On the other hand, what a more highly rationalized 
rehgious system gains in integrity and completeness, it loses in mvsterv. Thus the 
more differentiated religion becomes from the larger society, .he more objective and 
formula* become us beliefs, and the more professional and practised become 
its practitioners. What rcl.gton gains in internal mastery and control, it loses no. 
only HI mystery but in spontaneity and in access In nrw<rl source* of inspiration 
and authority that could enable religion .0 respond to unfamiliar .i.uations and 

The De-differentiation of Religion 
from the Larger Society 

Some societies that have operated at relatively high levels of differentiation between 

religion and the test of ihe social system nuy then become somewhat less diflef- 

entialed. The Iwiundaries become blurred between scientists and polticttfll, the ncv.-s 

»^a«dbittmess i liis«ranceco^ 

JegisLttors. Under 5Uch conditions of increasing de-differennation, it becornes more 

difricuJl to determine whether activities that nuy be apparentiy religum* on ihe 

RU&Ce are really political or economic It become* inctejMiiiJv unpnrtant to resolve 

a number of qUtttlOGK whether there is one Set of Miles for everyone who doe* 
business whether contracts arc given and interest charged on the basis of a pcrnon'^ 
political or religkiiu affiliation; whether social policies arc intended to hrncfti 
particular groups, institution*, or categories of the population bated on religious 
motivations; whether notions of need and ment are constructed on ihe basis of 
religious identity and affiliation or are relatively secular. During periods of de- 
diffcrcntiation. then, il is incrcasirr^rv difficult to know whether an activity is 
fundamentally religious or secular, just as it is difficult to know whether a doctor is 
following protocols set by the medical profession or those .set by an insurance 
oaaxptmfi or whether a politician's voic is determined more by the public than bv a 
special interest Doctors may be disciplined who, on religious grounds, refuse to 
provide medical care 10 an otherwise deserving patient. 

When de-diflcreniiarion occurv professionals in specialized fields who mix rdi- 
jpon with their practice* raise qi - about rhe future of r!*c practice itself; is the 

doctor practising medicine or his or her faith? Is ihe jurist interpreting the law or 
covertly applying the Bible to a particular case? Even the Bible itself may be taken to 
offer information about creation thai 15 as reliable, and ideas about the origin of 
species that are as credible, as those of natural scientists. It is this opening up of 
relevant storks and of semantic ranges that jeopardizes the disciplines in a society 
undergoing dc differentiation and creates a demand for uni vocal, simple, litem! 
meanings, based on hard, incontrovenible facts, that can stand the test of time. 
This demand for li\ed. plain, and reliable sources of authority is one indicator of a 
deflation in social trust. 

Deflationary Periods and a 
Reactionary Return to the Sacred 

In such deflationary periods, a society is less able to export moral outrage and to give 
its converts and subjects external fields to conquer or colonize. Under these condi- 
tions resentment can turn inward against domestic institutions and authorities. 
Citizens then expect less of their politicians, want the law strictly interpreted and 
enforced, place their trust in fixed assets like real estate and the family, and return to a 
more literal interpretation of sacred texts. As resentment turns inward, rather being 
exported outsjde the social system, people in high places become targets of suspicion 
wd accused of disloyalty, and those who seem outwardly to be decent and upstand- 
ing ci1i2#m a* suspected of secret moral and religious failing*. Public trust is 
withdrawn from major institution*, u people -develop low opinions of experts and 
*mcllettuah ; scientists and politicians. In deflationary periods, public trust is re 
invested in institutions like the family and the homestead, in traditional ways of life 
and rel.gious belief Then- is a move back to basics in everyday life: to deeds rather 

■ • Hiroriy 4ND RELIGION 267 

**««*, to the original meaning* the Bible™ theCormrtuuon rather than later 
teterpri-lations to precedent rather than novelty, to Itnowledgc that .* «ccvMble 
, ^ than the eso.enc or scholastic, to ,„ ,„« is more representative than abstract, 
,nd to die mMi.1 s »wn jcl^us commitments as opposed to more authoritativ, 
orcustomarr wcdemwK Clearly there m affinities in deflationary periods between 
coasetvative or even reactionary developments in .he polity or the economy and 
religious lundamentaFtsm. 

Jn periods during which trust is radical* ivithclnrwn fr„ m pubIic .notations, and 
resentment a focused on aspects of the society itself rather than directed to peoples 
and places outside the social system, a society will seem to its members to be 
moribund and therefore running out of time. Thai is. m extremely deflationary 
periods, there Wl be tendencies not only to fundamentalist but also to apocalyptic 
religious belief, sentiment, and practice, 

Pcilabonary periods see conservative or even reactionary developments in 
rdigion, m the polity, and in the economy. There will increasingly be demanding 
calb for loyalty and even sacrifice in order to restore the hjrd assets of the social 
system in the commitments of the individual. 

The Deinstitutionalization of the 
Sacred and Longings for Betterment 

Even in a society in which there arc strong deflationary tendencies toward stricter 
and more literal interpretations of authoritative tests like the US Constitution or the 
Bible, and toward far less trust in and expectations of dominant social institutions 
and elites, there may also be contrary tendencies. Alongside segments of the popu- 
lation carrying deflationary tendencies, others may tend 10 envisage a tuiuic brighter 
than the present and to promote the notion that Bne culmination of history will await 
the success of efforts to bring social betterment to entire classes of people and 
purification to the soul Among Pentecostal communities thai arc now as trans- 
national as they are local, religious belief and practice toiler not only personal 
morality but social disciplines that tend in the long run to produce economic and 
political progress. 

As perhaps unwitting agents of the process of secularization, Pentecostal commu- 
nities within one or 1^0 generation.- do produce individuals with high levels of 
education and competence in a wide range of occupations An^A professions, As the 
sacred becomes increasingly disentangled from j local web of familial, economic, and 
political associations, salvation Ikmmiic-. less a nutter .it participating in tormal rites 
and more u procc&s of sacralizing other aspects of social life. Ihe de-instiiuiional- 

: ion of the sacred footers longings for 'betterment' marked by self-discipline, social 
and economic progress, and high levels of responsibility for si vial welfare. Clertrude 

Himmellarh (ionj) notes in the eighteenth-century eoiKervativi- si^io] and 
political theorists like Edmuttd Burke drew on precisely *i>ch religious development! 
lo support their theories about the popular hascs of social solidarity and moral 
progress, just as more recentJy David Mattin {1003) has commented on comparable- 
develop n~r:i[- in worldwide Pentecostal ism. 

If sociologists of rdtsticm wish 10 study the extent to which the sacred has Isecotnc 

de-institutionalised, they will! need K> investigate the WWy% in which communities and 

societies experience* imagine, and construct the passage of time To- what detent do 

people believe thai the present offers an opportunity to realize the unfultiElcd 

potential* of the past? To what extent does a particular society interpret new 

situations id the light of precedents rather than as novel? To what extent doc* a 

society believe that actions are unrepeatable and their effects irreversible, rather than 

being open to future revision and redemption? Is there a sacred history or national 

mvth that gives the semblance of continuity and development lo the sequence of 

events and to the passage of time? How are moments perceived: as simply fleeting or 

potentially everlasting, as possibly opportune or actually critical, as mundane or 

potentially sublime, as calling for endurance or for decisive action? Is either the past 

or the future pressing on the moment* so chat old scores havr to be settled and vision* 

realized? Or is the present relatively open and indefinitely extended and filled with 

new departures? 

A Prediction 


I would like tn venture a prediction: ihar as the sacred becomes increasingly more 

diffuse and therefore more difficult to institutionalize, there will be a reaction against 

the involvement of religion in government- As the sacred increasingly becomes a 

dimension of work, education, and politics, countervailing tendencies will seek to 

keep these areas of social life at a safe distance from centres of religious control. In 

5 process, furthermore, religion as a jnibsystem will again become more highly 

differentiated from other subsystems like the polity or the economy, and its beliefs 

and values will become more generali7xd and abstract, to cover a wider and more 

complex set of contingencies sand situations. What religion will lose in specific and 

immediate relevance to or control over particular situations, it will gain in the 

appearance of transcendence. Because religious symbols will be too abstract to 

provide specific guidance in particular situations, however, ethicists will continue 

to develop an increasingly situational and pragmatic casuistry for the guidance of 

everyday life. 

As it becomes more difficult to contain the sacred within formal rituals controlled 
by religious professionals. So political leaden will continue to assume the mantle of 
the prophet. ;usi as bureaucracies will continue to develop routine* that are sacred. 

• wi,T *NP RMU-.ION' 


regardless of th* goals of feflwniNn, and , secular priesthood n . scientist, may 
continue ., contro **e» to esoteric knowledge and authority. Lawyers mav make 
renewed attempt to define their function as making their client, Vhole" while 
doctors may seek lo mucuair the sacred doctor-patient relationship, and both 
lh e military and the business world may renew their emphasis on their 'mi****' n, re made I o differentiate religious institutions from positions of 
conL^I -n pobiits, eduction, and the economy, will each sphere of artivity from 
uork and play to religion and warfare, be able to develop and maintain iu oJn more 
mformal ways of symbolizing and addressing the sacred. Without such an attempt to 
re-differentiate religion from control positions. especially in the political and the 
judicial systems, there will be increasingly deflationary tendencies, radical distrust of 
hernial institutions, and renewed demands lo limit the meaning of religious and 
judicial texts to narrow and strict constructions. 

Sociologists have further work to do k assessing the extent lo which rehgion. 
in any community, institution, or society that they are studving. expresses and 
embodies such inflationary or deflationary tendencies. Under what conditions 
could the escape of the sacred from the constraint* imposed by religious institutions 
become conducive to 'inflationary* trends? As aspirations for the satisfaction of old 
longings and grievances become increasingly plausible, will individuals become more 
likely to believe in the promises of political candidates, to expect the future to be better 
than me present, and to allow the valueof money to be determined not by fixed assets, 
like gold, but by exchange rales? Is there a correlation between the use of credit cards, 
metaphorie language, trust in public rhetoric, a relatively broad coftstamction of law 
and the US Constitution, libera! politics, and a willingness to revise liturgies, to 
reinterpret sacred tern and doctrines, and lower standards for clerical behaviour 
and church membership? Do these inflationary trends depend on the degree to which 
religion itself is differentiated from the polity and the judicial system? 

On uV basis of the argument in tfsis essay, I would predict that, as religious 
institutions lose their control over the sacred and become more differentiated from 
other aspects of the larger society such as government and the courts, individuals will 
take a more flexible approach to language and the interpretation of texts, prefer a 
metaphorie to literal usage of words, and free such documents as the Constitution of 
the United States and the Bible from the limits of stria construction; and onlv then 
will politics be liberal and religion progressive. 

References and Suggested Reading 

Beix, CATHeaiMj (1997). Uitoab Prnpnshvs utui Dimenswnx New York, and Oxford Oxford 

University Press. 
Btor.ii. MAURlce (1989). Atari, Htsunv, awt ftwefc ScUiUii fur™ m Anthropology- London 

and Atlanta Highlands, NJ.: Athtone Press. 
■ UmO. Prey why Hunter. Omhridge: Cambridge I'lirversuy Press. 

maris k i;..„: BtyivtJ frtok The Shape cfa Stxuhr Svaety. Oxford: OxinM 

University Press. 
Himmiltahii, tiurjttffrL (aooil. TV Road* to AWrrnrrjr Vw British French, ami Amencm? 

EnhghirnmcnK Mew York: Vintage 
Lincoln-, Bam 1:46*1. Rdipm, RcMfon, RmftifMn: 4n Intetdisaph'infry and Crost- 

Cultural CcUntipvvfE&ay*- No* Yorl Si Martin* Press. 
Umfti STrv** (1985!- Indtviduatum. Oxford: Rlackwril. 

Martin. Davir laooxi. /Vnf«wwftjnr TV ttorfrf rinr Parish. Oxford: Blacbvell 
Moose. Bamuotton ll. Uooo). Mora! Purify and Pfnetution m History, Primcton: Princeton 

L'njvexUtv Press. 
J\*rre*sos. OautHoo (1998)- Rmiah of Blewi: Cow^timees of Slavery its Twc Awerienn 

Centuries. \s„\<h\ngioK GvrtasM .'umtrpoint. 
RATp^pnuT, Konr A. fi999*. Ritmt mid Rrltgtvn m the S1aki/t$ of Humanity, Cambridge: 

Cambridge UotaBfty f'rciv 
WtuoHt Sryaw (1973% .WojpV and the Stfflewtium. Oxford: Heinemann Educational Book* 


. ... .. 




Ever since Plato there has been a binary distinction j n Western thought between 
reason and its other, described, respectively, as standing outside or inside the object 
of thought. Plata called these positions 'philosophy' and 'poetry'; in recent centuries 
they have sometimes been referred to or refracted as enlightenment and enchant- 
ment, modernity and tradition, or science and religion, and they find applications in 
a wide range of analogies concerning the West and the rest, male and female, and so 
forth. They arc generally the terms of those who consider themselves to hold the 
position characterized by the former member of each set of oppositions. Despite the 
historical Success of this way of looking at th*~ world. Plato's own pupil. Aristotle, 
offered a distinct alternative. Aristotle begins not with a binary opposition but with a 
triad of complementary modes: contemplative thought, practical reason, and cre- 
ative production ipoiesis). These modes— thinking, doing, making— are universal 
and pervasive to humankind. In the Aristotelian tradititm, humans— philosophers 
and scientists included — are always speaking or thinking from within some kind 
of practice. Further, such practices an historically, not transceiulentally, located: 
contingent, not absolute. An implication is that social practices, modes of thought. 

Mjflhaaks to Joshua Barker. Wend)' lames, Era Keller, Tanya Luhrmann, Philip Oivion. and 
£ach Simpwm for iheir careful and very helpful responses to 1 rirtf dr-in, and 10 lathe Solwjv 
lor viinml.itinK discussion. Naturally. I lake responsibility for alt errors and infelicities. Thfc 
CQIpter wan wriicen with the benefit of a research leave supported by the -Social Science and 
Nnmanmtc* Research Council ot Canada and the Department of Social Science*, University of 
Toronto at V-trbcirough. 

and the act* and product* of human creation arc rial necessarily strictly tornp-araki 
to each other along a ungle or simple axis of value ("truth*); instead, they axe 
incommensurable to one anther Incommensurability poses a severe challenge to narratives of progress, and also means that often one cannot make an 
exclusive choice between alternatives; that the exercise of judgement — practical 
reason i;pWnc?i,<>— entails finding the right balance, generally a path of moder- 
ation. 1 

vvliile Aristotle's thought wa* congenial to the medieval GkthoHc Church and 
inlluerwred marry thinkers subsequently, including both Marx and Durkheim, it lu s 
tioi so easily found a home in either social science or the public imagination. Yet, ii fa 
the argument underlying this essay (an argument which has not escaped a binary 
opposition of its own i thai the Aristotelian framework affords a superior orientation 
for the anthropology of religion and for discerning the relationship (or. to be more 
precise, the ongoing history of the relationships) between religion and science. This 
cntaik moving beyond a strictly "intdJectualisf* appreciation of religion and science 
as comparable forms of knowledge or reasoning and embracing their ethical and 
aesthetic dimensions as welL* 

Structure and History 
in and of Anthropology 

Grappling with the relationship between religion and science has been— and ml 
doubtless remain— central to anthropology. Indeed, one could almost say that it ij 
intrinsic to the field that religioru'seience stands, like nature/culture in Lcvi-Strausss 
(19*3) theory of myth, as the irresolvable opposition around which anthropologic] 
thought builds itself. This is so for two main reasons. Knt, the rdigioraAcierKe 
opposition ha* Mood synecdochairy in anthropology for even larger questions: 
notably, the debate between relativism and ratkmalism, and the contrast and inn 
Prion between holistic but diverse 'primitive' or 'traditional' worlds and the disen- 
chanted, fragmented, but ultimately singular "modern* Ode. Second, much a 
anthropology would like to see itself as an objective observer of human institutions 
and transformations, it is itself situated within the broad discursive field constituted 

In the Kiihman modd of science, however, successive incommensurable turadifirm fo 
mare or less fully KpSac* ane another. 

A nunber of the point* condensed in these first two paragraphs are developed in Urnkk 
'*y^'™nofpjai a u,uror^^^ 
1 S*»d deal to Bcnwein (19031 and beyond him to Gadamer (1985) at well a* To 
Urlmyic I i9<M». Uoyd f ,ftoj offers a penetrating account of *he polemical emergence ol 
Kience as a seJJ* conioou. ityfc f inquiry in ancient Greece. 




by science and *** and it ha, ,.,,,< also been an interested party in the debate 
hctween them, pulled between explanation and interpretation orZVcx^Tf 
T * M ^ .mncrion. between observation and JS!^^2 
despite many insightful contributions ,„d developments, clarifying the relationship 
between scence and religion remains an ongoing therape^ task or feature of 
anthropology, rather than a fully realized or realise science goal, h i, internal 
M wefl as external to the practice of anthropology 
This ts not to say that anthropologists hold a unified p^it.on on lhcsc taie or 

r , 7a r 1 t c >r : h ■**■" and ■•■■■*■ * **»« PU bik and 

* Mb* debate,. Unhke a l^-Strausaan opposition, .he tension between religion 

and science U thoroughly shaped by the historical conditions of us time and has 

changed for anthropology over the course of its own history, each leavin* 

significant traces m successive la>en of theoretical debate. I paint the picture with 

ettremely broad bmsh strokes as a series of three phases of anthropological thinking 

in conjunction with wider intellectual and sociopolitical processes. In its inception as 

m academic discipline in the late nineteenth century, anthropology was, to draw on 

Maclfltyrcs (1090) term, encyclopaedia Anthropology saw itself as an objective 

neutral science of reason that challenged the obfuscalions and misapprehensions of 

religion and tried to locate religion's place in human history. The birth was not easy 

as manifest in the career of Roberta Smrth (Bcidelman 1974), but Edward Tylor 

had a kind of assurance in stating that religion was rational but grounded in error I 

The general project, too easily denigrated today for its affinity with, if not actual 

modality as, colonia] govern mentality, was also part of the radical Enlightenment 

programme of locating humankind ('man) as creatures of nature, rather than God. 

The surpassing of evolutionism by functionausm, cultural parlicutansm* and 

structuralism gave the argument a new direction. There was a general deconstruerion 

of the overly objectified typologies and reified categories of ih* rarlier period and u 

relocating of humans as a product less of nature than of themselves < 'culture' t. For 

much of the twentieth century the progressive task of anthropology was to show the 

order, logic, morality, and beauty in what veemed to the majority of European* and 

North Americans to be uninteresting, primitive, backward, disorderly, disappearing. 

and generally unworthy in societies and systems of thought. The role of anthropology 

was no longer to critique religion but 10 appreciate it from a distance, i.e. indirectly. 

by means of "other' societies. LevvSlrauss's title Trare* Tropiqua U&q) conveys the 

sensibility of the period. Anthropology's subjects were for the most part conceived ts 

distant, quiescent, and relatively powerless, and there was an ethical imperative U 

represent them in the face of the onslaught of change, whether one saw it is 

'modernization or exploitation. 

During both these phases, the present (since called modernity) was. identified 
with the growth of secularism, and anthropology understood itself as a secular 
discipline, someiimes concealing from itself it.v strong romanticist tendencies. But 

1 F have not provided reference* fo r me early work Foe excerpts of some classic texts, 
well || reprints of a number of the aitkfa referenced below, see Umhck U00.2 


by the end of thr twentieth century with the resurgence of religion in the United 
State* and within n.iiinnalivi. transnational, and politics- <a recognition epit- 
omi/cd fry ihc general surprise occnsiriried by the Iranian revolution), but also with 
the rive of scepticism within the academy about the nature of science and secularism 
themselves (as phrased by diverse strands of post-structuralist, pos-modernisl. and 
t colonial thought) and the concomitant affirmation of history a* the master 
paradigm, anthropology find* itself squirming, no longer content or able simply to 
champion the richness nf religion against science and modernization narratives, or to 
return to an ostensibly value-free objoctfebl science of religion. 

The tension between anthropology's scientific rationalism and its liumarmlic 

relativism, pcrapectivism. and historical particularism is particularly acute at the 

tame of vailing this chapter, when the President of the United States advocates the 

teaching of 'evolution by design' alongside natural selection (the primary area of 

science targeted bv fundamentalist religion) in American schools and continues to 

refuse subsidies for AIDS prevention programmes (hat promote the use of condoms. 

Do anthropologists simply interpret the coherence of conservative Christianity and 

analyse the power of its rhetoric? Or do we try to fight for the naturalist and 

evolutionary premisses on which anthropology and the life sciences urc built? Jf 

there is a compass to the anthropological direction, perhaps it lies in unmasking or 

oecentiing hegemonic assumptions, undue power, unfairness, and dogmatic or 

absolutist thinking. These are, of course, not the special province of either religion 

or science per <e, but only of certain manifestations and invocations thereof 

If. during the first two phases of anthropological thought delineated above, science 
itself va> un problematic, and if in the first phase anthropology saw itself unprob- 
;t:r.i:K.i!U asiseaencB, these facts .iM' not crucofthepjieseatl age. h aumba oi thing) 
have changed beyond the political fortunes of religion. First, anthropology has 
increasingly questioned its own stilus as a science;* anc\ second, science itself has 
became an object of anthropological inquiry' alongside and roughly equivalent to 
that of religion. Both religion and science can be described as systems of human 
thought and practice, each with .strengths and weaknesses, neither perfect according 
to their own standards, the practitioners of each struggling with issues of moral 
judgement, creativity versus iteration, and the prejudices entailed by their own 
means of production and reproduction and modes of seeing the world. 

Advocates and practitioners of both science and religion must consider how their 
subject articulates with politics and the economy, the industry of war. environmental 
issues, the mobility of people the spread or containment of disease, and the new 
genetic and reproductive frontiers. Each must faceup to its commitments to forms of 
gco- and biopofttics and to the contradictions therein. Anthropology, again, is not 
simply an observer and explicaior of these trends and processes, hut is increasingly 
seJf-conscious regarding its own agency and lack thcreoC 

For lack ofwmcient .pace and knowledge I forgo discussion of explicitly wientirk 
contemporary anfJiropolopcil ,*npeetrves on religion, notabry those drawing on engw- 
trve— and now ncufo— mwhc* or calling ihemseKe* nco-i>arwinian. See Oi. 15 below 

rvi ^» *NP RELIGIOV 


rn genera . then the current of anthropological ihough. has witnessed a 
mow away from claiming a particuhtr expertise or understanding of the nature or 
e^ence of rehgion-and from participation in the iheolog^l OT ^^ dch ^ 

*■■ T h ^ im ^ nlll| - t ^ rd «"W«» the politics of religion, as though bam (and perhaps, outsuk W«ltf) but thereby necessarily "msidc \nrncother.a. 
times seeming inchoate, mode of practice. The current anieul«i ort of the recurrent 
theoretical fault line o anthropology is that between the ironic or sceptical sero- 
logical ol*crver and the compheit, but possibly critkai, hermeneutic p.irt,c.pant 
(i.e. the person who accepts Gadamer s <t 9 S 5 ) argument that we are jJJ located within 
traditions and that all traditions email ihe,r preiudices, that anthropology shares 
horizons with both religion and science). Between these (non-buury) position 
anthropologic must construct bath their research programme, an d their politic 

Religion and Science Distinguished 

and Related 

Of course, Ihe task of determining the relationship between science and religion is 
also irresolvable for reasons that do not pertain specifically to anthropology: notably 
tht fact that religion and science themselves are not Hied or homogeneous entities 
but dynamic, heterogeneous bodies of thought, poetic* and production. As anthro- 
pologists turned for inspiration from Durkheira to Weber and from non-Western 
religions to [slam, Christianity, and various prat-colonial transform ations o I other 
religious traditions, among the observations they have come inemwingly Und 
belatedly) to make is that specific religious traditions ^compass diverse CimcnuO 
debates and arguments, their practitioners and advocates struggling to be more or 
less closely connected or committed to immediate political issues, including re- 
sponses to scientific arguments and discoveries. Indeed, a major question for the 
anthropology of religion, both theoretical and empirical, is the degree to which 
Kugfofl is able to constitute itself outside oral arm's length from the political sphere 
and thereby reproduce itself on a longer historical trajectory and at a slower pace 
than those of current affairs and scientific discovery (Rappaport 1999J. 

Conversely, an anthropology of science, informed by developments and debates m 
the philosophy of science, worries over social construwtiomsxn ami iu limns, and 
observes the practical exigencies and political conduit thai shape laboratory lite' 
and the production and reception of ostensibly value-free scientific facts, theories. 
and goods. A study of the production and reception of scientific "goods" must entail 
consideration of temporality (e.g. speed, duration, and turnover) and of spattahiv 
and authorization, and the ways in which these processes are determined by or 
articulated with the capitalist marketplace and its ideological offshoots audi as 
neo- Liberal policy. If science could once he considered vaJuc-free in contrast to 

rehgton. fjs market value ami subsumplion into ihc milii.<rv industrial comply ar 
*U loo .evident. Moitrvcr, wtAtftfc and ascetic bodily practices wore once \h 
pi- I i of religion have come increasingly within r >pe of science and «h 

eoiuurncT market* recent fashion* in cosmetic surgery and mood- altering pharma 
ccutkal drugs being "idi the fete 'nipfc*. 

Perhaps m> social scientist has considered the relationship between religion ind 
science as carefully as Max Weber. In his essay 'Science AS a Vocation' (1946). Welvr 
argues for a distinction between fad and value. Insofar as science addresses the former 
and religion the latter, the two fields arc complementary yet necessarily at arm's hn&h 
However. insofar as science does not treat of value, Weber argues, it cannot it«|f 
comprehend why its adherents duiosr it as 1 calling rather than, say, the church, and 
insofar as it constitutes a specific calling (as he understood the term) distinct from 

religion. n J kind of competition with religion. Under conditions of rational- 

ization, that is, sincetheriseofscicnce and the increa^ingdiscnchanEmentofrhe world 
religion impels d choice, not only for 'religion instead of or possibly alongside science 
hut tor commitment to one religion or set of values a* opposed to another. Science, bv 
contrast, although it is chimctCRKd by great specificity, does not require a choice 
bftwcej) competing ralueoricnUrioiu within itsdC Science cannoton inter naT grounds 
decide which areas of research (nuclear fission, stem cells, ecological versus pbrao. 
logical research on cancer, etc.) should be funded, how far to proceed, what to do with 
the results, and so on— aD are areas of val uc {ethics ) nth er 1 han fact per st 

In contrast to the evolutionists, who saw science arising sequentially after or out of 
religion. Wfeber, and Robert Merlon (194$) after him. also noted affinities between 4 
scientific outlook and specific kinds of religious perspectives and social positions 
rather than others. Perhaps one could summarize Weber's position by saying that he 
siewed science and religion as incommensurable, and hence inclined towards a 
nominalist potion with respect to theorizing their relationship. At any rate, that 
is not unlike the conclusion of the present essay as a whole. 
It « bv no means clear that either religion or science constiiutcs a distinct iy» 
natural- or otherwise) for which there arc respectively a number of discrete 
ttHnmcnsuiate tokens. They are each more likely to constitute polythetic sets 
Although (ha issue has bedevilled the inifarepologual study of kinship to the 
point that some theorists have suggested that there is no such thing as kinship, the 
cnuque has not been carried so far with respect to either religion (but see Southwold 
^enee. There is a quiet assumption in each case that type/token relations 
Perhaps the strongest challenge to this view of religion comes from Taia! Asarf 
1993). who criticized Clifford Geen*(iof>6) (and the whole encyclopaedist tradition. 
-eert* s Weoenan and hermeneutic position being hardly typical of objectivjst social 
science notwithstanding) for the assumptions entailed in attempting to define 
rdigwn in the first place. Asad ( J005J has since attempted to iheoriec and document 
nse of religion (as a discursive subject and Bfff-COnstioui set of disciplinary 
in tandem with secularism with reference to both state power and colonial 
and transnational relations in classifying and apportioning domains and forms of 



Asadseniphasis<MithcroleofpuweTanddiw«,.r« r ir. , .l 
« any period as rebgioua vr.cZ JX^nZZTlT^ ""^^ 
S However, if science and rcli gHln Zl " S £ T ' V ^ ^J*"* M 
analytic frameworks, and if.hnrLpcct"ve ad^, s L f T f W " hin Siraaar 

tent or to be collapsed ,n,o one anther, cither by pr*titionm „ r £ S^T 

Explanation, Accountability, 
and Closed Systems 

I. * evident that contemporary religion docs not dispense with souce (or ac Ian 

technology) ptrx; fundamentalism condemns only what it interprets to contradict a 

correct reading of ,t S sacred texts, Beth the Islamic government of Iran and the * 

fatto Christian government of the United pursue programmes of nuclear 

power. The pnmary area of science targeted by religion in the USA Uwoluiionarv 

theory, particularly the evolution of the human species, but extending to ail life 

forms and even to geology insofar a* religion advocates cither intelligent design or 

creation along the linc-and with the liming-of a literal interpretation of the 

Genes* story. It is perhaps a paradox that evolution is challenged in theory at the 

very moment in history when intdligent-or not so imelhgent-^esign is in fact 

tampering with its very elements and mechanisms by mean, of field* like genetic 

engineering that are enabled by the stale. But it tt no wonder that an-uous political 

and military lexers might wish to place ullimate responsibility outside their own 

hands and into God's- 

Thc question of responsibility-or accountability-has been seen by «» 
anthropologists as a critical dividing line between the spheres of science and religion. 
Whereas science explains by means of so-called natural cause, religion attributes 
anion more often to personal cause, be it a personified God, gods, spirits, or humans 
acting as saints, witches, sorcerers, shamans, or magicians. Religion thereby fills a 
function from which science abstains: namely, providing a theodicy. The ability— 
mdeed. necessity— of religion to maintain interpretability— that is. to explain baffle- 
ment, suffering, and ethical paradox, rather than evade, postpone. orcfomts* answers 
lo these questions— is for Geertz <i<**l one of the critical markers for distinguishing 
religion from science/ It is likewise central to E E. EvaM-Priidurd"sfajr»UsanalvH S 
C1037) of how. within multiple levels of causality, witchcraft serves the Airande as an 
explanation of misfortune. A granary can collapse if its wooden posts ire eaten by 

• Insofar m Genu views religion, science, and common ^ense as shifts in perspective rather 
than discrete objects (a position on winch he t* nol COOSisteal), ihc main thrust at AaA 
Critique is vitiated. 

termites, but only witchcraft can explain why that moment of collapse coincide* with 
my neighbour* decision to sil beneath it (At the same rime, of course, the system 
produce* it*. ""*n set of Victims'! namely, those discovered to ho witches — as well jj 
general anxiety .and mistrust.) 

Evans Priichard* argument ifeopointS in the other direction, towards a simiUrity 
between science and religion afl both tokens; of a type that might be referred lo as a 
coherent or comprehensive "system of thought' Building in a somewhat unacknow- 
lodged way on Mtlinowski (19221. Evans- Prite hard's tour deforce is memorable for 
his demonstration of the practical logic of witchcraft beliefs, how witchcraft and the 
ways to counter it form a relatively closed!, internally consistent system for the, His famous remark that Azandc reason excellently in the idiom of their 
beliefs, hul... cannot reason outside, or against, their beliefs because they have no 
other idiom in which to express their thoughts' (1937: 33S) was taken by certain 
philosophers as a feature also of scientific paradigms. As Stanley Tambiah summar- 
izes Wittgenstein's On Certainty (written i>949-5i)- 

A mitfakc is something which can be Tested and shown to be wrong. But ihe idea cf tesiuic 
alreadv implies some particular system which has as its foundation .1 set of presuppontiom 
and proposition* which cannot rhemvehes be tewed or doubled. These propositions make the 
activity of toting pa&ublc by determining what will count us evidence for argument* and 
venrkation — Says Wittgenstein: 'Whether a proposition can turn out fiKc after all depends 
on what I make count as determinants for thai proposition'. The truth of certain empirical 
proportion* belong* to our frame of reference*. "All testing, all confirmation anddisconfirma- 
tion of a hypothesis takes place within a system ... The system is no* so much the point of 
departure as the element in which arguments base their life- ( Tambiah 1990; $4) 

And just a* Evam-Pritchard showed how secondary elaborations conserve the iwsic 
premisses of the system, so too, some have argued, scientific paradigms preserve 
themselves from contrary evidence. 

Of course, Wittgensteins description docs not preclude comparison of different 
systems or presuppositions; and some of anthropology V most exciting discoveries 
come when we penetrate to truly distinctive ones, as in Eduardn Viveiros-de-Castro s 
depiction of Amerindian perspectivism ( 1998). His analysis of the way in which many 
Amerindian groups presume that human*, animals, and spirits each sec both them- 
selves and one Another differently from within different kinds o( bodies not only 
Opens up a whole new understanding of Amerindian shamanism, but provides an 
astonishing alternative to Western Categories of nature, culture, and supernaturc' 
from which so much theorizing about religion and science begins. 

Evans Pritchards work has always been taken as a paradigm* But in hindsight. 
and noting how link appears to have changed in Zandc witchcraft, it may be 
suggested that the system was and is too tight, does its job too well, and that some 
comparison of systems of thought as more or less closed or open is appropriate, 
Thus, in contrast to ihe Azandc, my tomographic research on the western Indian 

But not exacuy as a Kuhman paradigm; his mode of analysis in Wneherafi, Crudes ami 
XfogKWM widely buded. hut rarely taken up by successors. 

Occn Wand of May,,«c Aowed ib« during d* , 9?M , nd , 9gos „ di af 

mury m no, mev,ublc there, fe, there werc j|lcr|H1JW ^ fj , 

«,,««« were mrdy rumed « «<u*d, , nd D;lrmWn of ^ y \ 
lema[ n C d open .0 further cv cnl! m j in[ , , pr ,, qtI0ns [luaWc , ^ < JJ 

, t rcmc » fe ^homfic sccn,r,„ of child «ftd„ *,, h,u recuniy arisen In K^has, 
,,|, P Qt Bocek IDe B.«ck and Pl.^r, aoo-,, ts a con^id^bk pain, , describe, by 
mean, of a Iranian an»htk vccat-ular,-. how nightmare (fanned by Cbrfc&a 
congregations* can beoimr reality. The^.ivc question i, how such Man 
lV e regulated or become deregulaled-in other word,, to look no. only „ ii, e ln , fr „ .1 
logic but at mods of authorization (as indicated bv Audi and a, how ,hey ar.iculate 
mth wider political processes and events 

In sum, Evan^Pntehards aiuly™ remains significant, but not quire for (he 
reasons often claimed. A negative consequence of a common reading of the Zande 
paradigm, and one reinforced by ihe Hoasian Attention to cultural coherence and ihe 
Durkhetmun and structuralist legacies of synchronic holism, w« the picture of 
traditional, static, closed systems, contrasted negatively with the positive, dynamic, 
open system of modern science, idealized by Popper, that could prove them wrong 
and thereby succeed them. This is patenuy false because, as noted, openne* and 
closure do not map onto any line of historical or evolutionary process. As articu- 
lated by Wittgenstein, science too muit have its limits to fahinability; conversely, a 
fully bounded .stalk system j$ equally inconceivable Moreover, as Evans Pritchard 
himself noted, 'mystical and scientific thought could be compared as normative 
ideational systems in the same society', and. moreover, we can observe people 
switching between modes of thought or frames of mind as the context changes 
(Tambiah 1990: 92), 

Drawing on Alfred Schutz, Tambiah (like Geertz) prefers to speak of alternating 
orientations to reality. Tambiah revives Levy-Bruh] s idea of religion as participation, 
and manages to Hnk it with developments in semiotics and various ideas in psycho- 
analysis, feminist psychology, and philosophy. Tambiah probably overstates his ax 
in setting up two basic orientations Jo the world that he call* respectively, •causality' 
and participation' This is a dual opposition remarkably rcmimsccni of Plato's 
distinction between philosophy and poetry, and. as noted above, recurrent in its 
modern refraction as enlightenment versus enchantment: and like these, it omits 
most ordinary language and life Moreover, the opposition risks replication by those 
tempted to offer scientistic explanations for specific religious practices, 7 

It is interesting that the two extreme ends of the spectrum often come together in the 
hands of *pccint thinkers about religion, who might, eg., try to combine work on neuro 
transmitters (causality) with their own ostensibly mystical etpertenecs in the field (panui 
palm.). The Society for the Anthropok^ ofCDBSckwausi is full of this kind of thing. My 
owrv position could not be further removed from such facife mediation of binary oppositions, 
emphasiiing instead ihe sociocultural (rather than cither the natural or the 
reality of religious phenomen.i. the rigorous henncneutic and rdlcxivr stance required «»! 
micrprorers. and the t%ruticance of a tripartite Aristotelian rather than a doausi model 
(Lambek 2000. 2002J1I. 

t'mpinctlty C and logically) it is the -case thitT people nhvu-ys have recourse Bn incom 
mensurable ideas ami practices fLanibek 199.1)- These are ones for which ,1 t l rur 
algorithm of binary choice is- not possible: rather, judgement must be tominirmuK 
activated- Furthermore, outside the Abrahamic legacy, it is by no means clear iha'c 
religion has meant exclusive loyalty to one god or prophet. The sorts of heterogeneity of 
religious traditions characteristic of many Asian social fields (c.g, Gcllncr 2001) and the 
polytheism of Hinduism or Voruba religion have arguably demonstrated more open 
nessand flexibility (though the Abrahamic religions all also have their internal streams 
of debate and conversations between branches of tradition). Contrary to the ideas of 
m-im 1 hnstijn and Muslim scholars, polytheism is not intnnsicalry either rationally or 
ethk'ally inferior to monotheism; indeed, one coukl conceive of arguments that it is 
superior. Certainly, any religion that claims exclusive access [o the truth must have at 
leasi that assumption regarded as false bv a comparative anthropology* 

A comparison of cowm<m forms of science .md religion suggests that the former 
are generally narrower in scope than the latter. Not only does science generally 
abdicate from Webcrian questions of theodicy, it is largely unable to address the 
social functions rhat Durkheimand his British disomies attributed to religion. That is 
to say. science i<- nOl as richly expressive of society in the way that religious symbols 
or rituals may be (but sec* e.g. Martin 19&J); nor is it as directly contributory to social 
solidarity or the enrichment of moral life. As recent events have shown, religion 
com in u ex to form a powerful vehicle for drawing together collective sentiments and 
for providing a source of collective identity within mass or global society. Religion 
provides an alternative, and stands in some contrast to (and possibly mystification 
of) impersonal bureaucracy, the alienation characteristic of capitalist production, the 
amoraiity of capitalist exchange, and the anomie characteristic of capitalist con- 
sumption. With the partial exception of dedicated working scientists, who view their 
practice as a Weberian vocation (or Ehc effects achieved through the prescription of 
anti-depressants.!, science cannot offer these advantages. A similar comparison of the 
functional attributions and limitations of religion and science could be made along 
Freudian lines with respect to the unconscious and the elaboration of fantasy. 
However, interesting new work on the 'tcchnoscientific imaginaries" of, say, commu- 
nications engineers (Barker 2005) suggests that science may connect to society and 
psyche more broadly than these remarks imply. 

Magic and Medicine 

The opposition between science and religion has often and tellingly been mediated by 
a third term: namely, magic. Magi*. Sam* told Religion was the title of a set of 
influential essays by Mdawwsfci (1954K the triad reappears in an extremely useful 
overview by Tatnbtah (1990), which I have already cited; and magic is provocatively 
paired Kith modernity in a recent collection edited by Bireit Mcver and Peter Feb 

.-■■■PPp tOIiY .XS>„ 6t ,l«.lr.N 29l 

„ mipc. leaving re bjnofl a* a don,™ characterised by Wtfofc^^S 

tT more clearly dm„ T „sh,ng the respective fusions *«*» lnd ^HSZ 

tap serve, to the ^rld ofclhka y re]igiofts ^ g ^ 

smaUer-scalc mW. wheh « ostensibly more ^ mimiUcd 2J» J 

m^c. Whereas nun,™ c.hnographers show the v «uiiy u f ,hj s view founder 
standrng prices u, smaller ^fc ,hc essays in Meyer and ft* &*rt 
demonstrate, conversely, the mag* mhcrcnl , vlthin ' modetnitf „ m . » 
embraces lh< reli^us, ■rrational bui persuasive impulse within scien^ Sev^l of 
theauthor,, especially MrchaelTaussig Uooj,,g further in demonstrating, he way in 
which mag,c always play* wlth-sotptidan alongside crcduhtv 

Robm Horton (.567) also challenged the attribution of magical thinking ,0 
smaller-scale societies by arguing in nco Tyiorean fashion that •African religion j, 
actually much closer 10 science than is generally assumed. His argument, however, 
fails .0 acknowledge that m the end the beliefs and practices of «mailer-scale societies 
are not stnetly comparable (o science, if only because they are not discrete inu 
r.ons on the order of science- Tambiah (wo) offers a sharp rebuttal to thi* kind of 
caicgory error (but cf, Appiah 1592k 

For many years, then, the question was how to define religion and science so as to 
dimnguish them but also compare them, and to use lessons drawn from ihc one. 
riiher positively or negative!). ... help understand the other. The project was consid- 
erably refined by means of the development of structural analysis. Borrowing the 
term from William tones, Mary Douglas (i<>66) offered a saluiarv .mack on what she 
called "medical materialism"; namely, the explanation of specific religious practices, 
such as the lewjsh taboo against pork, contrary to what religious practitioners 
themselves might say. as really- based on materia] criteria, such as the health dangers 
of poorly cooked meat. Her argument was elaborated in the bracing critique 
by Marshall Sahlim <i 97 6) of various forms of Malinowslcian functionatism or 
American cultural evolutionism thai explain religion in terms of what it does, thus 
ultimately in terms of a materialist science. Douglas and Sahlins also went a long way 
towards unpacking the cultural logic of science itself, a proiect has been 
farthered by developments in medical anthropology— for example, in Margaret 
Lock's (son*) demonstration that even death is differentially defined and regulated 
ra Japanese and North American forms of biomedicine. In decisions over organ 
Iransplams it is not so easy lo distinguish fact Itopi value.' 

Limits or border areas of science and rdigi.m ,ire also evident in psychiatry, in questions 
like the displacement oi the soul by memory I Hacking 1995): in Kien« fiction understood as 

of discovering 'laws of the mird". the structuralist comparison of religion and science *& 
not necessarily* rejection of .scientific cxp!anfltionofri fc !ipoiislactspff?f,biilraIheracdl 
lo widen the boundaries of what science, Anglo-American science in particular, could 
ccmcriwasiralid foiimof c^latM^ 

the way in which science, loo, is defined by culture and by specific intellectual traditions. 
For n certain kind of cultural structuralist both the science and the religion of A given 
society build from tlie same structural roots even if, on the surface level, they prove verv 
different from one another This ispcrhapsa source of wh.ii. from a different intellectual 
tradition, Weber described .» "elective affinities'. 

Perhaps the most decisive advance wo* that initiated in the philosophy of language. 
Once It was understood that language can do other things than represent, it waa 
possible tn understand religious practices in a new light. Whereas science works to 
explain or represent the world, and does so by means of propositions that can then he 
judged as accurate or inaccurate, true or false (or at least understands itself to be 
operating in this manner), much of what falls under religion is now more dearly seen 
as non-representational and non-explanatory but rather as constitutive (hence 
surpassing the 'inteUectualtst' arguments of Tyler. Evans -Pritehard, and Gecrtz, as 
well as the 'symbolic* arguments of the structure-functionalist school). Religious 
utterances are is often illomtionary (performative) or pcrlocutionary ( rhetorical I 
spc*cfaacts^tho , areIocutionai^MdeKriptive) statements. TTie success of these acts 
is not to be judged hv criteria of correspondence truth or falsity but. in the case of 
iUocutionarv acts, by means of what J, L Austin (1962) termed felicity conditions, 
having to do with how well and appropriately they are performed Roy Rappaport 

phrased the consequences succinctlv: 

Hi* stat* of affair* u the critcrwn by whkh the truth, accuracy or adequacy &f 4 statement is 
aitcsxd in the case of performatives there is. an inversion. IL for instance, a man it properly 
dubbed to knighthood and then proceeds to violate all the canons of chivalry ... we do no* w> 
that the dabbing (wail fault), but that the subsequent states of affairs ire fruity. We judge the 
star* efaffem by thtJtgret to which it conform! to the stipulations oftite performative net. (1999; 
133; italics original) 

Rappaport 5 analysis illuminates both the question of religious factirity and truth and 
Durkhcimun insights concerning ritual and religion as the moral foundation of society. 
On the pcrlocutionary side, religion incorporates multiple sensory media and 
has an aesthetic dimension largely missing from science (despite the advances of 
PowerPoint). Music m. dance, and other forms of experience play a significant 
role (James 2003). This is beautifully illuminated tn works such as Turner (3967), 
icrspoon ( 1977K Fernandez (1993), Kapfercr (1983}, Daniel {15*4), and Hirsehkind 
(2001), Together, the illocutionary and the perlocutionary go a long way to captain 
the success of non-Wcstem healing systemsibut alsoapplyto biomedicmc) (c.g.icvi 
Strauss 1963; Tambiah 1973,; Lantbek 1993; Antzc 1002)* 

This u not in say that particular forms of healing— e.g. BuddhiM -mutdfijlness'— may not 
also be efficacious in other respctb. 

ANTHttOPULnr.r tv 

1 1 I ioion 283 

*^ n ^ n *i Srr* m ******* -« *« z ssn 

correspondence truth a analysis would kad us to think quite otherwise 
insofar as science ,s chveourse, » it produceV the ^m ftf , vhkh £ ™ fa 

•J ;r i, r ? T*!!2£i fl0talBBW 8Wlus of such *** S— 

has been the sub,m of much lively and heated debate by philosophy <« Hacking 
l9 oS). and a great terntory for anthropologist, m.erested in exploring contemporary 
pncticcsof rationally andeth^ieg.^ 

tools to the practices o. .mail-scale sorictie (James .yU). Here, where it was bast 
expected, science and religion appear to appmach each other once again. 

Contemporary Ferment 

The task now is not to paint global pictures offence* and religion; but to itudy 
instances of each— i.e. sets of practices that claim or are claimed to be either science 
or rebgion-and describe their discursive foundations, actions, and effects, and their 
relationship to other discursive claims and practices within the same -social mile* 
We now accept that there is no single, tinidimensioiul Comparison possible between 
'science and religion', but lots of micro-comparisons, on the «ka of roucaults 
capillary relations of knowledge and power. How do these diverse sets of practices 
Shape the ethical landscape or orient people within it. and how do th«*v constitute or 
'colonize* various 'BfcworiuV? Conversely, how do ordinary people respond to 
cultural fragmentation and the disembctiding of religion' (to import Karl Polanyis 
idiom developed with respect to Ihe economy cf. Taylor 2004 j and draw on the array 
of alternatives available to them, producing various bricolages or intensifications and 
attempting to transform situations of imposed power or ostensible but shallow 
choice into ones of moral integrity, dignity, and serious judgement? How. in sura , 
are specific regimes of value transcended and transfigured? 

How. in particular, are we to explain the growing interest in religion, often with a 
concomitant ostensible rejection of science? Anthropological answers are forged 
through the practice of ethnography, i.e. immersion within specific communities of 
practice and careful listening. Rather than review a range of studies or attempt to 
build a comprehensive explanation. I illustrate a single, provocative case. 

Eva Keller makes the uscJul point that evert if anthropologists give up rhe systematic 
comparison of "religion" and 'science' as a false problem, it remains a salient issue for 
many people trying to make sense of their own positions. Thus an anthropological 
contribution is to understand the many practical, imaginative, and ways in 
which various people (societies, congregations) ionceptualsK and try to resolve the 

issue. KeUer (300$rt) describes Malagasy Seventh4>ay Advcniists. who 'are not <otj- 
ve/ned with defending religion against science, but rather, from their point ofview. wnh 
debating one scientific theory .ignm^t another (croiiinnism against evolutionism ] 

The < .hrtaians KdJer describes apparently attempt ro draw on ihc authority of 
science in atder ro say ihai they, too, are approaching ihc world scientifically, seeking, 
'nroiif kelk-r'-. point i* not to claim that Advemism is scientific, hut rather thai 
Malagasy Adventists want to understand the world by means of rational thought and 
evidence Whereas Keller compare* the Advcntfcts to Kuhnian scientists, I woqjj 
surest that from the perspective of science, for which its distinctiveness as a rigorous 
mode of inquiry is acute, ihc proof seeking of the Ad ventisis could only be a faulty 
kind of mimesis, a sort of unintentional parody. When the challenge is closer to 
home, as in legal battles over the right 10 teach 'evolution by design" such mimesis 

can only appear disingenuous ■ ' 

What the Advrntist* arc doing is claiming the right lo appropriate authority and 
interpret the world for thermcKcv Fhey are not against science per se> hut ontv 
against the discursive authority that would exclude their own voices from its practice 
Many modem religious movements can simil.irh He understood (in part las attempts 
to rcappropnatc knowledge and truth from distant experts and to provide alterna- 
tives to Uw authontarian regimes of church or stale and to the diffuse but pervasive 
capillary systems of power/knowledge characteristic of modernity.' 2 Iti this respect 
the AdvcnittU are not so different from the advocates of complementary medicine. 
The scientific and medical establishment finds itself challenged on the one side hv 
religious fundamental ism and on the other by New Ageism. 

KeJIersAdventistsoperate like good intellectuaiisw, and h may be that ihe diversity 
of anthropological theories of religion mcrdy replicates the possible kinds of orien- 
tation* of local religious congregations, some of whom function like Tyloreansand 
others hlce ieVy-Bruhlians. Thus, whereas Keller concludes that Tambiah's 
doe* not apply to her Protestant tundamcotuJi>T>, who appear to be ciuirdy on the 
side of" causaliiy', Tanya Luhrmann (2005) reaches virtually ihc opposite conclusion 
in Iter ethnography of an American evangelical group, the Vineyard Christian 
Fellowship, arguing that their cultivation of practices that enable them to hear God 
speak directly to them validates Les7-Brahi's idea of participation. 

If religion has been shrunk by the authority of science, the rireumscription and 
regulation of the state, and the demands of capitalist production and consumption, it 
attempts to return the favour. Charismatic and evangelical revivals may be seen as 
attempts to restore the cerutality and comprehensiveness of religious practice, to 

» Sec also ICdkrioo**. 

CaflCetnponvy \.,:ih American creationist argument* illustrate not (he prate-science 
duratirrized in the writing, of inteJleciualists tike Horton (1*7) so much as a kind of 
pseudo- science. 

Of course, thn ii not to be taken as an exclusive explanation or the whoTc picture A 
on power can be linked to manen of ethical disquiet aod redemption C Kurridgc 196*) u 
as 10 missionary funding .and many e-ihet focior*. For a masterly overview of recent 
nntoncal trends and theories to account for ihem, tec Hefner ( iocj«). 


rescal the rif, between disposihon and cosmos, and to shift the reducer, D , -v 
M mcn« of rehginn fa, precarious and fragmented beliefs- back" ho Sc sub 

as to remove the very boundary between public and private 2 L S^Sn£ 
practice, and comportment pervade everyday life and the lifcwrjrld » 
leather than compare or evaluate rdfcfc* alternative* according* eritcna estab- 

,hould ask whether we can come up with evaluative criteria internal or inTrins lc ,„ 
iritfff* m , what Rappaport offer, us in what is the „„le mo « ambitZa 

Rappaport begin* his ma-sterwork by inquinng about the nature of region and of 

& °* !■ "i T. { Tu °\'* T fullY ******* ta«ai what Te calls the 
soennncaUy lawful and the religiously mcaning(ut as well as the kinds of truth appro- 

paste to each. He offers a coherent forma] model of rchgion, in which ulUmatc smrred 
pOStukte, that arc deeply meaningful but informationaJlv empty-have a 
central place Having elaborated the significance of religion for sociaj life human 
evolunon, and even the future of the planet be concludes wirf w pa g« later by 
discerning pathologies of religion. TTiesc occur when the most sanctified utterances or 
forms of authonty lata on political, social, or ma.emd specmcity. Such ovc^edtlca- 
iionof sacred posmbtes, or enrr^ncti 

and inrlex[bd«y. When, as in xhe lacil sanctincalion of profit and consumption under 
capitalism, it raises relative, contingent, and material values to the status of ultimacy- it 
smihrly 'rebc^f*] the absolute, for it identifies the absolute with the SMusquo and 
the material . [and] vulgarises, prolines, and decades the ultimate »p. 443). fUv P a- 
port, after Idlich. refers to this as idolatry'. Overly literal interpretations of specific 
sacred texts arc instance* of oversrH-cification rhat not oruv support immediate political 
and SOCM conservatism but (paradoxically J risk both social hreakdown and exposing 
the sacred to general invalidatJon (pp. 444-5). Similar p.iUK.Iogi« may be discerned 
in science, as, for example, when evolutionary theory is overextended into social 
Darwinism, sotiobid^^ 
calEs idolatry in religion is akin to reductionwm in science." 



I sum up with several points. First, once we accept the historical emergence 
and spread ol science as a unique discursive formation {or set of related formations!, 
il becomes (anachronistic! nonsense to talk about the rebtiomhtp l*twcot religion 

u Seee.g. Csoraas (1997) on Catb.»ti«, and Hiruhkmd faooA) and NUrunood (20*5) on 

M This argument was developed together with Jackie Sohvay. 

jmd science, «i religion as a kind of science in societies lhat have not y& ciKnunrcriM 
or intcmarized thicdrvdopnwnt. | For towc* the same would hnfd for ihc historic 
rmeTgenceofrdipion'M»nc\piKit category and subjrrt f»l|Kiliiical discourse.) 71, 
docs nol preclude us from examining rhe raiionnliry of practices and dift;t>» I 
bese miens, bur merely from trying 10 fit ihcm into a mould thai 11 noi thcin. 
Within 'modem* societies th-it do comprehend •science — and this includes the Qui 
world today— one mutf realize the diversity of possible relationships between scienr 
and religion, hnunning with the unequal education and formation that individual* 
dtt&fe. or nUIU* groups of various kinds receive in one or the otber, but examinin E 
also the dominant or hegemonic public rWmutaifons of their relationship as wej| j 
diverse countcr-r»egcnionic alternatives. 

Second, the view of at least this anthropologic is that although idfejon ha 
been challenged by the rise and success of science, and has had to accommodate 
itself to science, and although science may now find itself challenged by religion; 
although religion and science ruve emerged and defined themselves (or been 
defined by the Mate! in relationship to one another, round themselves in direct 
op) 1 n certain issues, or attempted to imitate each other; although ihey can 

each be made to temper (or inflame! the excesses of the other; and although both 
religion and science risk the danger* of provincialism but also afford a mesas 
to escape it— at haw ihcv Jre incommensurable. This mean* that religion and scierk 
cannot be fudged or compared along a single axis of measurement, and therefore 
that they will continue to irritate or complement each other without either one being 
able to &Uy subsume, displace, vanquish, or eliminate the other (unless, in confla 
granon. they eliminate us all). However, if their fault lines and bordertandx are 
problematic tbey are also eirtremeiy interesting, characterized b> vibrant create < 
and intense ethical questioning. As to their relationships En the future, even their verv 
narures, much wfll depend on the politics of the state and the regulation and fate of 

Third, ihc very pairing of sdrace-aiid-rdigioii' invites imdlcctulb account, of 

rd.pon, and r have doubtless given them excessive attention in this essay Bui fusi 

"abstract thought is noi the be* or on ly | cn5 through which to compare 

rdipon with science, so too. reason is not restricted to science, nor. conversely, i, 

scente to be exclusively identified with or understood with respect to abstract 

n. Both religion and science arecnaraewrized by eombinaiions of contemplative 

though!, practical judgement, and creative performance. Thinking, doing, and 

makngarea part of everyday life as well. Conviction, disposition, and gracefulness 

derive not only trom facility mth the objective vehicles or instruments of larger 

pawr. bu. also from agility « their vehicle, instrument, or subject. The >.ark 

rntjead C in7 P0S,r ' 0n **«*>"*< '«»" *** impassioned partxapatton a 

J^!^ t^**** *** <****<* w„h abstract reason and religion with 

^S.hS.Ti""' if o-nmensurabif-ty of science and religion in Ihc modem 

Id. the desubl.zat.on of the transcendent or foundational claims ofeach. and At 

*MTHIOWi mjrAH|)1| 


ultinutf uncertainty thai ihcir eontaartfaui. „. 

.rUngulation wim ., ,hird c^^Z™***" im ^ »" ■«. ** 

References and Suggested Reading 

AVT7S, Paii (lOOl). Memory and the Pnumiiiir, »tt. t__ 

preyed ,., the liighth AnnmJ C^fJ^T^Z^ '" "T*"*" h «« 
Uni^nity. ™ f '" ,hr Hunun S™™* * George Wil |, mglotl 

Mad. Taiai. U993,. GtnttiosHi of ReUgu^ Baltimore lohru Hwktm | fr„ _. Tl . p_ 
(aoojl. Formations of iht Secular, Stanford r,i r t. r .T. tnlwri ' t y Pre. 

B«ku. IMHVA (ifflOS). "Enguiem and ^iJaTn™?. '""'''' PrTO " 

MM* K. O. L. tH69 ,. lVh , Hcan n Vnv Bmfc Oxford, O*fo,d (J,***- P,^ 

OoimtAj. Mart <i<*6). A mC y amf tt.Kjw. New York. Prwger 

"X'ndrP^' " & *** ""^ 0rU "° - «5 —X * torA Oxford: 

& ^Z; lC MES "Ir'- *""'' ^ El4 ^ * *■ fi ^« ^S™^™ « Af„ (a . 
PniKfion: Pnnceton Universiry Press. "*>•">■ 

Foitauit. Mkhel l W 8). TAe Huwryaf &Wi V , L New York. Vintage Books. 
GaDaweb. Hahs-Geoig (1*85), 7ru.l, ««J ifcrh«i Ne* York: Seabury 

Z^r '" f 1966 ' , Rc,i 8 10 " ■ ^ Culi««l SrtoC « Michael Banwn («L). AmAr*- 
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Ethio. here serve, as a kind of obverse to ihc other triadk term invoked: lc. nunc 
flftt as magic idennfics insirumemal pracrico vntJun idMaa and mvsiirymg oracle 
within scence or its puWk uivocai.ons, il sersw ,» mc dule between science and rd., 
miner than 10 ofter J vij|.| c ,iiicrn.ilise n> dualism. 

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In Cairo', ^nmain Anthropologist. 28/j: 6&JHI9 
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Columbia Uufocttfty Press. Fortruormng. 
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V4\tk of Sutton* Oxford: Oxford! IJmverssry Press. 
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t/niv*mty Prcsa. 

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Srr iflrrxd. Blooraington. tad.: Indiana University Prcw, 
Kij.u:b. Eva Ijoow). "How. Exanty. Doe* the IVorld Work? Paper prepared for the worksbon 
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ina vr- N !.iem ill an ■ 

Lambe*. Miomfi 1 W ). Knowledge MtidPnmkr in Mayotte. Toranro: Urriversiry of Toronto 

U000J. The Anthropology* of Religion and The Quarrej between Poetry and PhilosmDhv' 
Current Anthropology, 4,1; 309-20. **" 

(mow) fofl.). a. ftasfa in rrV Anrtre/w/c^ efRrfigkin. Maiden. Mass.: Black-well 

(jooifc). Ife HkightoftfrtftisL New York: Pal^jve-M h.mi .in. 

Uwontik. Richaid (2005). '1111: Wars Over Evolution'. New Yod ^n^v / Basks. u( 

Uvj-SnatftS, Oaude (1963). Structural Anthropotog): New York: Basic Boob. 

1 1960). Trista Tropfijc/c tow York: Aibcncum. 

Jmn, G.EIti 1990). Dtmysrifrtns Mentalities, Cambridge; Cambridge University Press; 
„', ^w**^ I3001L Twice Dta* Organ Transplants tad the Reinvention of £W, 
Berkeley: ttniwrsity of California Press. ' 

Uamtng Report Anthropologica. Jtapecrim; Lisbon, September. 
Mttlimru. Auscuv <l**4). A/fer \ W Noire Dame. Ind, University of Notre Dame Pre*. 

11990). 71mr Jtrwi tomm 0/Afor.fl/ Erttfurr). London: Duckworth 

Mjkmood. Sai,a (2005). Afefe & f p iet> : Ife lAwtk fahml arut the Feminist SuW 
Prmceion: Princeton irnivrniry Pre**. 

"& Kt^iii"" 1 "** (l?12 ' ****"* ° f ^ WeSteTn PaC $ £ - L ° nd0n: «"% 
— fi9M). Afayir, Some*. d «i pw^ OT unrf Orfcer Bsa } % New Yoffc Doubledav 

W93 of Palm to the Age of AIDS. Boston: Brocnn 
M«7™ Sore., UW9-. Sc^/ Vucry ** Scool Struaur*. GIckoc, IB, F « Prc. ffl . 

««f Cwrwi/rwnr. SunfcnL QSL Swiifo,d Umvmhv P re « 

Skicikc- Rcuon. Amhrop^u a Soaelet, V)li; 49^,4. 
Rxwwov., Rm I.WI.E^™^^*^^^ Pri nc « on: PnIK:i:toll UlIlvmi , r 



Canbritfp l**w*t» tact ****» o/ StawiH '.:*mbridg« : 

S»HLi«i, Mabshau. f I97«). CBftanj! onrf tactical !>„„_ ,-, - , , 

Pre,,. * K * 0,Ba Chicago: Unucnity of Chicago 

So^THWotP. Maitin (.97»1. BuddbUm Jn d the Definition of Rd, nn w u 

Ta MM a», Stan, rt («»). Tom, and M fJmng B SuS^S; *%"' * »" * 

•^SS; ^ - tow - **•* ^ rt - ^ ^ R " fc ^ 0-^ c,^ 

TA¥L0«.OlAWJS(2004).M0rferMiK^/^j^^^ - Vr « . ,, 

WEBtut, Mai (1946). 'Science as a Vocation', in H H Grtth md r UA*a- w n , 











II is sometimes assumed thai .1 simple story can be told about the historical 
Kbbomhip between science and religion. On one overview, 'science- and "religion" 
existed in harmony for centuries, conflicting only in the modern period. On this 
renting, even the debate over Charles Darwin's Origin ofSptcm {185?) was nothing 
more than a storm in a Victorian teacup (Raven i W ). By contrast, the converse is 
often assumed: "science" and 'religion' have edited in more or less perpetual warfare, 
until recently, when the potential for peace has supervened. This second view 'a 
attractive to those who believe that t weniielh-century physics, in particular, has given 
unprecedented access to the mind of God (Danes 1990, 19913). 

How can both accounts be true? Each story is problematic because of the level 

of generality assumed. When science is placed in opposition to religion, as it so 

often is f it is easy to conclude that the one must exclude the other. For Darwin's 

bulldog'. Thomas Henry Huxley, it was simply impossible to be a soldier for science 

and a loyaj son of the church. Or. as Darwin's cousin Francis Gallon put it, the 

practice of science doct not KCOnJ with the priestly temperament (Turner 19M1 v 
one of the lewon- of professional hiMorkaJ scholarship is that too much 
our thinking about the mutual bearings of science and religion is governed hv 
uncritical acceptance of the dichotomies and antitrust* that pervade potmU 
dfeamfcm, In short, serious history enriche and complicates the picture (Bro, 1'. 
wan For example, an Oxford theologian of the late nineteenth century. Auh'r ' 
Moore, iA«t reflixtmgon evolutionary theory, famously wrote that under the en 
1 1 foe Parwin had done the work of a friend (Peacocke 1985; m). Such arreting 
remarks of this kind Immediately si ...-.-. .1 more nuanccd picture Darwjn, Mill « S 
as a foe in some comfit. .aides, had done the work of a friend by liberator 
Christian! tv from bondage to a dna ex mnMna. a magician who intervened t* 
conjure new species into existence. For Moore, 1 creative process of evolution w« 
consonant- with a theology of incarnation in which divine immanence was restored. 
The subtlety of his remark wands in judgement over simplistic models of how science 
and religion should be rcbtcd. In this respect historical scholarship both inforrrw 
and support* the claim that more sophisticated taxonomies are required for captur- 
ing the multifaceted rdationi between science and religion | Stcnmark 2004; see aEw 
this volume 1. 

^""»i v^ niwaM, ..on 195 

Total Disparity? 

One ivay of collapsing a rigid dichotomy might be to show that science and relifiion 
to*e more tn common thin images of hostility suggest. There .s a limit to how far 
one can press this case because, in their respective practices, scientists and religious 
devotee* engage in very different exercises. Prayer, meditation, and worship contra*! 
w,th the tesnng of hypotheses through controlled experimentation. Nevertheless, the 
hMoncar record a enlightenmg on this point, because perceptive commentators 
rurve noted that there is no complete disparity, For the theologian Thomas Chalmers, 
who led the Disruption of the Scottish Church in .Sa 3 . science and religion had this 
m common, tfut both were Wined abstractions from the grosses* of the family 
*nd orduury world 1 . In hi. view there obtained ' 3 very dose affinity between a taste 
for saence. and a taste for sacredW. The two resemble each other in this, he wrote. 
that the, make man a more reflective and le* sensual being, than before" ffopham 
99r Aril Such sentnnenu. are not to be dtsmissed as mere effusions from the past 
Comparable thmgs are said about science in contemporary scientific literature, as it. 
• recent ednona] m the journal Sdem* where editor-in-chief Donald Kennedy 

1 1^' ^ J ' amWm ' hW K ' mcc - hc *"*«** » *ort M^xons. 
m2JL u ". ^ a" mUCh abDU ' ' he |UK 0f lhc «iy«'riou, as .boUl hi 

« ■ co^ic rel^ous fedmg w» associated wttli m ufcto* mystery. Th, * 
* of science .. J™«tB«ing .he tofcttig^ and compreheniy P the 

untm* -rved »U» .he mystery „ to ^ ndturc sh J d ^ ^« 
comprehend (taiwr^ ja, „,. [, ^ ^ EinMcin ^ ^^t The 
emohonal Mate that enables great scientific .enlevements to be rmde « similar to 
that of the religious person or the person in W < Brooke and Cantor »a* 2*7, 
Science and rehgton may. th.n, have ekmewi an common, and historical h 
h« «po^d them. te. was convinced that beauty •« „ guldmg prijKip|c in 
theoreuca], and would tatfoctbd, reject formulations he perceived to be 
ugly. The ep-sremic nnucs of Mmphci.y. elegance, symmetry, , nd bc|Ut ^ m ^ 
m many scientific *eone* of the pa,, and have often contributed to chrir success 
{Polanyi w*. m frock* and Cantor 1998: i07 __ 4V >. p,«ci*cly how mudi they have 
contributed m .peexfic ca^cs. sodias the acccptabiiity of Copcrnican astronomy, has 
given rise to sophisticated debate <McMul1tn 1986), 

To tease out common elements is not. however! the only wav of breaking down 
barnrn. Biography of eminent scientists have often rtveded religious leaning as 
with the biblical Sandemanian Christianity of Michael Faraday (Cantor 1991 1 To 
imagine that there could only be a compart me ntaJizang of the scientific a n d religious 
commitments. OTD when this might sometimes be implied by the nibnct. can be to 
miss subtk interconncaions. 

Science as a Religious Activity 


Despite sensationalist novels such as Dan Browns Angels ami Demons, most 

historians would deny that scientific and religious sensibilities have always clashed. 
Scientific thinkers may not always have been the most orthodox in their theology 
(Brooke and Maclean 200s). but among the pioneers of modem sc.encc there was 
often a fusion of scientific and (heoksgical interests (Funfcenstdn 19&S). Isaac Newton 
was not an orthodox Chmtuui, since he denied the doctrine of the Trinity. Yet 
Newton described the task of the natural philosopher as the deduction ct anise 
from their effects until one arrived at the 'first cause; which was not mccbaiicd \ 
he wrote to Richard Bentlcy in 1692, the fact that the planets orbited the sun in the 
same direction .ind in the same plane could not spring from any natural cause alont 
\Vhat Newton described as the business of natural philosophy involved the discus- 
sion of divine attributes and Gotfs relation to the world of nature. 

ll ha*often .been said that, with Newton, [he scientific revolution reached its apothe- 
osis, in which science emancipated itself from religious concerns. It would be more 
accurate to say that Newton reinterpreted theological concepts, such as divine providence 
and divine omnipresence, through the categories of his science. Because space was 

Constituted hv (Ind\ rtniiiirM'i-<^ i n.-a» V.-wi,in ,-««iU k,. .'-\«i^.3. 

.4 .-,1' .». 1.,,—.. ,.„._„..-_ 


^of the miiwrealitvofhi^avr^ 

■ i "ururc ptt-su^pii.^ lire uniiv of ihediunc mind (Sni>Men 2ooi>. 

ftWttn nicety show* how history compliance tnc picture. By some contem 
Km his science was perceived as friend? lo religion. William Whistoo, hu sucoan 
lo the LutasianCrmirof Mathe nunc* tt Cambridge, njotod thai Nylons P^rf^! 
(1687) had .mushed the mechanistic nutcrialism of Descartes natural philosohh 
Bona; 96$ 33-7). But at the same tame Vewtrwi v ^ deeply suspected of heresy 5 
h b v tax appealed to be associared with Socinian tendencies ( Snobelen 1999) Hih 
OWtfdl Anglicans m ihc eighteenth century were sometimes severe critics ff 
Newton's science (Stewart 1996). Consequently there is no sfmpjc answer to tbl 
question of whether Neu-ron ^-ence was friendly or hosrife to 'religion". Itdcpend 1* 
an where you were coming from. 

One conclusion, hamper, is inescapable The coexistence and imemenctnftm ^ 

>tic and scientific concepts in a mind as celebrated as thai of Newt 

on must destroy 

thepopukrsiereorypes. HfcioricaJexamplescan be suggestive in other wwstoo TlJ 
destroy dichotomic* by revealing the possibility- of mediating positions. 

Middle Positions 

WbCD discussing the great revolutions in scientific thought that have chanced 
percepuons of our pi** in the universe, it is tempting to contrast new with old in 
black-and-white terras, m.ssing the subtlety of middle positions There is a utJ. 
earn* in feGafil*, .** The pubLcauon of G^s book on tSe ' Jo S 
World ferns' («*) p^pitated the famous tnal of .633. Routine.,, hisW 

and Ptolemy, the Roman Catholic Church suffering opprobrium for having silenc d 
ham and for suppressing the truth. That is how it looks in retrospect. A. the time he 

Tnh ZZ?£ ** *£"* ^ ** ,here ™* "" «-«5£ 

SI ^ t ? '"""" d,e ma,W ,hi " ** "» ""doubtcdly autaetive ,0 
Oahko. anc* to dnpmw one system was to promote .he other. But there was a 

S2.KZ. *J C ?rS ^"^ b ^o Brahe, in which £ J ih 

2 7 7S ^ )- Ma,hCTna,l<a "y ^"'valent «o .he Copernican system and 

W all I rdi 7 '? T r ° ' hc ^ in Which « lali ™ <«««n «tron. 

»-m and were perce,ved a, the time, because this compromise- proposal Z 



compatible with a geocentric reading of (be nlimi i, 1 1 ■ 

«: ,z-m. The situation looked ra,hei dil^X «* T* ^ " ***» 
h««n, were taken to represent . phvs, J™ - ?ff "T*" 1 "^ngofthe 
appear less elegant thm the Copcrni Z ST^ ?* 0,,,t iyS,em Muld *• 

scnes .0 ...deriine .he important ^TZZStT^T™^ b ° TO ^ 
affair wa> whether the ^lof.SC^ J2 '"""," *' ^^ 
fur making planetary- predict or SSStSCT ^* !?"** 

mvolved Tstatus of J££Z ZSL tTer ^5 " *» 

*^l«rd«Gfc«p rilI clpLofh l »^^ "' SC K° ,anhip ^ 
by the theologians of the Inqui.tion iC^^? ** "> *"" **» tod 

Middle positions have Usually been possihip m *rU**zi 
religious interests have also been at MakeTml.ta ^ k '"T" "* ^ m 
JL disappear eventual lnd hth Zt ^^ f - "" ^""^ 

example But nSLporitionT^ »«5i^tE*!S?!? " h, !? BpJdwa 

from the nineteenth century would be the ^k ofTc 2 1 A " T"^ 

heheved „, new specie arose through what we would cai« natu alTa^Tu 
e also cons.dered „ pr.matuxc to regard Darwins mechanism of na.ur^Lfon 
as the agency of transformation | Richards , 9 «„. T1* pe lsis t«,ce of rae same ba" 
bone suture ,n the vertebrate kingdom encouragrd him to ab^actTom i 
an a^etypa. skeleton, which he could paw as an idea ,„ the SS of£d 
The evoluttonary process could then be understood as an unfolding of f,.W 

21 ^"TT Crea ' i0n ' in ""* tht lrche ^ had »«J*« insUntT 
aeons (I upke w) Owens position was one of many competing accounts of 

b^ogica. evolution , n which the efficiency of natural seJccto, 1 oucTned 

« rn^n that Chnst,a flS d,d not have to choo« directly be. ween ^ selection and 
ZZ mtervenuon. And there are modern equ.valents. One can he a neo- 

UansnnHn and Mill point to constraints in the evolutionary process that h,.%* led to 
converges .rends, such as the independent reappearance „f the .same kind of eye 
(Conway Morns 2003: 328-jo). 

So far in this discussion the terms science" and "religion- have been used mfor- 
rially, as ,f they are unproblematic. But .his is unatfahctwy. because it assumes ,ha. 
here .s a .hing called science, of which we can specify the essence, and a thing called 

rehpon. of which .he essence can also bedistilled. Histoncal scholarship can help us 
.ere. because the meaning of these words has changed with lime. It also reminds w 

Um I is more appropr.atc H speak of 'sciences' and •religions'. When we do. anv 

simple dichotomy loses its rigidity. 

Sciences and Religions 


One of the must fascinating subjects for historical investigation is the manner 
which btnindane* beiwecn dbrip&MS are constructed and how thev change with 
hnic "IV proliferation or ^-cMali/ed sciences in Europe did nor begin to itccclc 
until the Lite eighteenth and carry nineteenth centuries, but distinctions had pi- 
ously been drawn berwecr) different sciences according to their subject- matter nA 
methods. Il would have been nbvmtt to Newton's contemporaries thai the studv of 
■stroftDlB] Involved very difTerent prtctittf from the study of chemistry. natu r I 
history, and natural philosophy. The fa*t had been associated with the studvof mot 
and eventually graduated into what was later called physics. Bui in the seventeenth 
century, natural philosophy u Its name implies, was studied as a branch of phifoso- 
phy This that Jl was broader in scope than would now be permitted within th 
i :ulture Ofnsl Eckneo, As we have already seen, natural philosophy for Newton 
embraced theological <juestfonK it did not exclude them. Reputable dfscussionso/ihe 
transfnrrriAtion from natural philosophy to natural sci^nc* arc now avaitobte f Knight 
and Eddy 200s). and they stand » i warning against the imposition of supposedly 
timeless categories of science' and -religion' onto historical realities. It fa even bej 
argued that natural philosophy in the seventeenth century was primarily a form of 
theology .Cunningham 1991). a view that risks conflating natural philosophy with 
natural theology and which has prompted a vigorous debate that can be followed in 
volume 5 of the journal Early Science and Medicine (2000: 158-300). lust as the word 
science' ha* changed its meaning from any organized body of knowledge (including 
ftCMfotc, theology) to modern research based and highly specialized activities IdT 
berate fy excluding theological interference), so the word 'religion' is also an artefact 
finding new application in the Enfighttnment, when comparative approaches w*zc 
needed fo. die analysis of different cultures, their practices and rituals (Harrison 
1990). Rcvealingly. the word 'Scientist 1 a a idatively recent invention, first coined I . 
the C-ambndge polymath William Whewell in the 1830s. 

WhewcO himself used historical examples to accentuate differences between the 
*icnco. Such semttivity has important implications for the discourse of "science and 
rehfpon A. a gfmt point in rime one science might be posing a challenge to a 
particular rehpon. when another might be offering support. Such disparity can 
occur even when the sciences have much in common. For example, during the 
^venteenth century the telescopic discoveries of Galileo undoubtedly posed a pna> 
rm for tradittonaJ Christian theology. Tr* vast number of stars invisible to the naked 

™!Th .** T i nslrurncm > ™* d ^question of why , m.onal Creator 

~uU have created such, plethora of useless object* They might of course shine on 

ZL T' * bWime * ***** r «P° nse - *" ** «*>• «* «* ««t»m 

theological repercuss.ons, since embarrassing questions could be asked about the 

lidden TrL th ZT^ **""* bWeW ' lhc "*™«M*. -Pcned u P . 

hidden world that w M both beautiful and awesome: divine craftsmanship wa 5 almost 

mm witoBto, .., NC i*HDmin. M 


immrdi .itely dtacrmMe in rhe intricate structure „f v 

a fish to .he eye * „ ft, Tha, ■ . J^S ""' S" *" *"" " 

b^d Robert Bo* „ he reflected on ESSES £ "*?*"* 

Afp visible in the micrwamfc world K vm ,h? T ' n » <nious =»f'*m a n- 
decrecd. had iu uses. E i, ^Jl^^^f- * ^ ° tem " 
to afford a physuun Harrison > 99 8- , 7 JT ^ '^ """« fof ,hose UM ^ 

rime on .he rhetoric Jfld po]iti« of Suc h !ESr-^2*" h " eW5,ed f ° r W,mr 

no, onlj- a differen.fa.ion of science, and aS^S^TZ^ ^t 
Ae metaph^icl co B c4 M i 0nS d rawn by different prl«« L " ."T- 5 

ara .t i_ L-«- "^Jitrresirul lite. Whereas astronomers cleeftsllv 

M te prolMbdrty calculations concerning th. U^ numbcr J ZT.S2 
duta»s from Adr «. as wc .re fron, our,, the co-founder of rhl , W rf 

h,s Hfa^U Irfr <i«,il. WaUacc stressed ,ha, a « „ ch pl)int of ^ofca^ 

^t I V™ ^ thC C ° nti ^-« that it was L n(a r£lc 7rZ 
«« path !ead,ng ,o llrtdhgnKe akin !o ., cou]d ^ ^ 

in the universe (Crowe 19H6; 531), 
B^« than muhiply «„ m plcs. t will consider another pluraliU; .he drversific*- 

3SSZ n "™^- JS> ' 0r OTamplc - -" C " ensivc HM8to « '"' S 

of ChnM,an D.sscntcrs ,n promoting d culture of science and technology-, li.cra- 

ZVtL ?m?!i!T* reMWtd ***** ,Wood io ^'- tn «- °f *= 

,™„ ? J " thCSB C03Kemmg ' he '*"*« ° f ^"^ M '^ *o 'he 

expanse,, .of the s «cnc«. Robert Merton (l «8) a^ucd that Puritan Vllues mm 

rnore conduave ,a saen.ific acivin- .han the morecontempbuvc C j,holk spirit* 
ahties-a condus.on spawning cogent rejoinders .Morgan .999). Bu, i« is also clear 
tha, drffiwni world fat.hs have had thdr own disunctive .t.itudcs .awards the 
saenres. rendering monoljihic treatments suspect. A compara.ive study of the 
responses of Quakers and lews to seienc* and modernity has been ,. nhafek reoen 
addmon to the l.terature (Ontor 200,). It is sometime* said tha. certain Hindu 
traditions have p« fl more amenable than the- classical theism o.nuinMrcam Chr,s 
uamty to eculogital sensmvity and evolutionan' fHrrspcctivcs iGosling »or 4 , ; 
tddmann 2005), fn another influential mister narrative Christianity has itself been 
Uamed I for a set of ji.iiudes eondycive to our tnviroiuncnul crises (White 19*7), 1 
ificsts has [teen co-nnin-l hv <ru<\n*i,t, fr^™ *,l.. i:_i „. j-. ■ . 

that ha* also been ov.-n.Mird White*! ..(intention was thai the biblical iniuncr 
oaeise dominion over nature could easily lead to an exploitative dominati'"" 'I 
nature. An important quattficotton is, until the seventeenth century, ikV 
wis nothing intrinsic in Christian biblical exegesis to generate such esploitaii ! 
but once nature became a more conspicuous resource for human benefit. as „" 
for l-rancn. Bacon, the Genesis text was reinterpreted to justify the appro Dr jJ 
(Harrison 1999*. p ,on 

Contrasts between different cultural traditions haw been drawn in many wa „ |h 
impinge on the evaluation and characterization of the sciences. Seeking to unl t 
stand why; despite theb ni P rc«i« technological achievements, Chinese societies did 
not produce ihc ibttnci and mathematically expressed laws" of nature thai fciiu t 
in the physical science of the Christian West. Joseph Needham supposed that ih 
absence of the idea of a personal God. legislating for nature, might partly explain ,h 
deficit ( Wedham ,969: 30,-27). There is a sense, however, in which to focus 
alleged deficieQCHS can Itself be chauvinistic. Not surprisingly, when biaorjarf 
soence are written from the standpoint of a particular religious tradition thev trZ 
to beennarnaed so as to display the religion concerned in the best possible \2 
-iven the manner in which many Western historians neglected the Contributions of philosophers, 11 is perfectly understandable why the scientific achievement, 
ol the "golden age"of Islam- especially in the well-documented fields of astronomv 
optic*, mathematics, and medicine-should now be reaffirmed. Samples f ™ ' 
able scholarship on the subject of saence and philosophy in medieval wLic 
heology mdude King , WW ). Sabra h 994 ). Saliba (,094). and Ragcp and Raj 

Sc^a^T™ ° f0tUmn ***** have been *°™*Wy documented by 

But there are also concerns that playing the game of 'Who discovered X first*' can 
lead <„ a naw fc d oilpcio p 6c mory iD Khlch [oo much . s rf ^» 

the degree to which the shape and content of medieval science were detuned by 
re hgious presupposmom, whether Jewish, Christian, or Muslim (North zooj) Ser. 
.ou.hrsoncal study rases the additional problem that Just because a particular p,ece 
£«M.lic research was conduced withm a specified religious culture. I does £ 
Wlow thane was either mspired or opposed cm the ground of theo.ogto IZZ 

SSSfS Sa,d ° f ^^^ «™^°" movement in nin.h^Z 

B^hdad , Gutas »* 191> . When cramining (hc ond jtions * 

«er as il n could be completely abstracted from social, economic and .wheal 
Sui unl ' 1 "* °' COUmW R <<°»™«» *»«»«. when Pope Urban 

u^ oe irl^T V 99 , K H r° nCal aPpr0adl " » '* ic "« ^ "religion remmd 
where saenufic mnovanons have rmpinged on relig.ous ...ib.lnK, The many 

• « r. H 

• li: 

*CIIM r 


.lifferent reinterpretations of the Clnlftco episode in k 
the point (Finocchfaro joos). Where there is Hrf**?"" 1 ^"^''"rwundcrlme 
pbee, and culture, questions about the T'T '" ,hr ta l""" ntt of «"'■ 
inWte the immediate respond whnse scien r , T ^ tWCn Kie " CC and «*««'«» 
Ontor 199B; 4J-71). '^ whoK rcli B io "? ' B^oke and 

Entailment or Consonance? 

---film 11 ■ ii 1 in— 1 1. 1 ... ^^ •« ■ 

Even if there were „„|y one science and only onc reueidn ,. ... f . 
be challenged, This is becm« Dne ind thJ. e " gl0n " ,h * dichotomies could still 
underpm and threaten a STp^S^ "S " muk ~>V N„h 
the decades preceding ,Uin" s S^^^^'^-fi"^'- 
underpin a doctrine of creation and to ,.,n^ ,. weo,d *»* uscd » 

a, Cambridge. Adam ^^^^2^ 
eternity, as older forms of atheism had suggested S oS«h H • ^ ^ 

that had not been there before (Brooke t»f,c dl ,„ T /JT " UO ^'"^ 

imp3.cai.ons for religious belief is a well-tried wav of JZETZSL ^ 

meamng V.U Urgefy depend on our presuppositions. Many ^Eu rf^jS 
«d rd,gron are vniated precisely because ,bey are looking fo r imohJo "d 

thin h Id th, fi^ ? r^ ° r?™™ * thC ° ry ' h3 ' & ,U<J "° ™ re ,0 do ««* **™ 

bmi ^aUr, , ^ '"'"^ ,887:ii "* ° f — ' '"-is opposition 

between a hteral reading of Genesis and our mndern underttanding of c«molo«v 

te«Dri a ""derstanding (Numbers ,902: Moore , 99J: Urson t W7; 

Another way lo deconstruct the dkbacprniea if to twftch attention from tim 
ice. Some of the finest merit in the field of science mi religion has been Men " 

plished by scholars sensitive to the effect, of local geographic* on receptivity m 




The Place of Places 

r i ■•* oneasks tb. innocent question, How did Presbyterian Christians respond to 
Darwin's theory ot evolution in the thirty years, or so following its publication? I he 
answer turns out to lie thar much depends on where you wet*. If you were in Belfast 
in 1*?+, you might have heard the physicist John Tyndall deliver his Presidential 
Address before the British Association for the Advancement of Science. Annoyed by 
the neglect of the sciences, in Christian colleges. Tyndiill went on the offensive 
declaring that the scientific world would claim and wrest from iheofogy the entire 
domain of cosmologies! theory. In a historical survey designed to show the triumph 
of science oves superstition, Tyndall associated Damn*] theory with his own sk.iL 
monism, iheteby alienating a religious constituency thai would henceforth regard 
Darwinism with dismay. At Princeton, by contrast, despite the rejection of 
Darwinism by Charles Hodge, Presbyterians were for the most part less troubled 
with (he more tolerant view epitomized by lames McCosh I Livingstone m v | n 
Scotland it was a different story a ? aim Presbyterian voices were initially concerned 
yet. according to David Livingstone, the Darwinian theory was far less a worry than 
the radical biblical criticism of Robertson Smith (Livingstone iooy »,--,«) a 
contrast has also been drawn between the reception of Darwin's theorv m\ w 
Zealand and in ibe southern states of America. In New Zealand, the theory, with 
ib emphasis on competition and on what Darwin in his subtitle called the 'p'restr 
vaoon of favoured races in the struggle for existence', was attractive to settlers who 
could use d to justify their ruthless treatment of the Maori (Sioihouse .*») For 
Afferent WJraiDM Darwins theory did not appeal to the polygenic of the 
American South, for the important reason that, on the interpretation of both Dm*, 
and Wallace, it was actually supportive of monogenic, since all races were ultirn- 
atdy denved from a common ancestor (Imngstone 2003: « Brooke 2005: ,76-;). 

He entical point is that whether a particular piece of science is perceived as friend 

or enemy may crucially depend on local events and circumstances. The lesson is no 

not today. Discussions of the kind Is "creation science" reallv science? Or is 

tanSf CCn '" m ' f ^^ '" Ame "™ courts ° f **« in a manner that has no. 

religion The ettherior d.chotomy. so prevalent in North American eontem, has 

:: PB ]t v I Pr °L WI,Dn ° f ' Cons,i,u,i <'" diff «™ from the British. When 
«*.ng legalities, the teachmg of ideas about creation or design is perceived ,0 be 

confronting issues that involve «**&%££ ™ J*-* - - 

Only Two Possibilities? 

Ii would study be a move fit the riohi rtt*M, u 

that discourse about creation or £■ Wm v M " ^ "" Wp<d " ~ 
religion in any straightforward way XtTo" L M " ifl " 2^ "" '° 
the philosophy of rel,gion_to the phnl nyo "It IE T^fT" '° 
reference ,0 -he dialogue between science and r dSn as tuW j£" " 
parties. Conversations between seen tists and ,heo£< « Jul ? "* of the and social sciences, however, the conclusions druwr, 
from stich conversanons can sometimes be naive. I n rj* essay I have tnedl ,Z 
how the med-ation of historical study can be instructive. The mediation „ meu 
Physics is also fundamental. Would there be so much misunderstanding of Chr*i n 
doctnnes of creation If there were a greater famil.anty with creation unde^od " 

the magic of m anthropomorphic deity? There are resources here m the sba PC of 

ttkna (Kaiser ,907) and the interdependencies between na. B „l uWogy an d the 
natunjl science, (Brooke and Cantor „* ^j. Allhough wiIilam ^ ^ 

£12£^ t; 1 7 ften taken lo '"""^ ,he *™* h ^'^ *»■> «-* «h= 

drvemnca ton o. the argument during the nineteenth century (Liftman 
aoo.1. qualifying the popular conception that Darwin destroyed it 
The assumption that there are only two categories worth talking about has found 

(.999) Stephen J. Could at least enabled both to survive as long a* one accepted his 
pnncple of NOMA-tha, there should be no overlapping mag,L, For did the 
province of the one « the determination of fact* about the world, the proper 
province of the other the determination of moral values. This NOMA principle- 
may be an ideal; but it is not one to which i\oM himself was able to adhere In nfa 
controversy Simon Conway Morris over the fossils of the Burgea Shale. Could 
conceded that his own mterprctat.on, which stressed the accidental and contingent 
factors m the course of evolution, had been shaped by personal heljcfe and prefer 
snees (Gould .998: ^5). This raises a tantalizing but difficult question. «hich onlv 
""'""'■'"I KM-arch OH fuE, ,la,n:,:.,:. ! .,,, : ,.,, ,,,, , liniBIISi lnd .,„ ^ 
contorts still exwt. , n which the cognitive content of .1 scientific theory has been 

intrvrrruwl ft^J ... __.i. s s ... ... 

Van dct Mrer MOl)? How, for example, might serious historical research deal 
ihe claim rru. without the Christian doctrine of creation there would have boa, ' 

modern science? 

Revising a Revisionist History 

There were many version* of OmMianity competing for attention in seventcenth- 
centur ■ gfe anil many variants of an emerging scientific culture. The SuggeMio 

that science (lingular) was somehow an offspring of Christianity (singular). wftfttV 
intimate organic connection that this implies, has not withstood the tew of criii ] 
scholarship. This does not mean that the old -warfare thesis was correct. There were 
resource wuhin the Christian tradition thai, when appropriated and ^interpreted* 
could be used to justify scientific activity This ($ not. however, the same u assert ton.' 
ph causal relation between Christianity and scientific endeavour. 
A serious and influential case for asserting intimate connections between science 
and Christian doctrine was made by the philosopher Michael Fosterduring the tgios 
(Ftoner 1934). If science ultimately depended for its rationale- on the existence of an 
orderly and intelligible world, this was a presupposition thai could be supplied bv« 
doctrine of creation. i„ which the unity of nature aiso reflected a monotheistic faith. 
Thinking along amuar lines. A, N Whitehead had already asserted that "faith in the 
Mobility of some*, generated antecedently to the development of modem scien 
i.Ik theory. K an unconscious derivative from medieval theology' (Whitehead .91, 
191- It is also undeniable that prominent scientific thinkers of -Wvcntccnth-eenn.rv 
Europe presented their scientific insights in language redolent of religious convic- 
Uon. The astronomer Kepler clearly believed that the order of nature was best 
captured by exhibiting me geometrical harmonies pervading the cosmos. Mathcmat- 
W WW the language that mediated between the divine and the human mind. Galileo 
whom was the language of nature, saw human reason as a dWtt 
gin. to be used in reading the book of nature. Newton * belief in the universality of 
nautrc s laws was^as suggested above, a reflection of his robust monotheism. 

Chrenan beliefs could also be brought to bear on questions of methodology. |, was 
* ~ refrain among advocates «f what became known « the experimental 
philosophy that the armchair philosophy of the Kholwk. was arr^an, in fa 
presumpuon that reason alone would give access to the truth. If God had been free io 
nuke whatever world God wished, only an empirical inve„i SJtll ,n could reveal .Ik 
^ccitr J ^ daC,Ui|, y b «"^^-theDutchCa ! vinis,hiMo I un f 

toZZE^'f S ^ mWdy hY e ™™&W *«*» of though,, though 
cdebuhon of the *>vercgnty of God. it cleared the air for a science of 2m by 

Til JIM 

o* SCfawCftAwni . ION 


diminaling dl mediating agent* briwctri an mmJ*. . 

process leading to a wodd-view in which n « J nd £?*"**. ° f """" 

inv L ,, i g. 1 te,heLi m ofna,urcw a s,oinvc,LT c meCw !' S££ *** *" '° 
,0 act in .he world (Hooykaas , OT | ThTw i^T £ ^ »«""«»*<*■« 

God could be identified , a dKii?^^*,^*"" 
within . M**, M^p^SSStiS **" '""*' ™ 

Such connection* may indicate the relevance nfrhri.. 1 
science and to a revisionist V**+jX£2£Z!!!£l * *" *" °' 
Yet proper caution must be exercised brflr J ' "^ **» on it5 h,Md - 

pre-emincnee that Hoovkaasg^ SS^TS' ? """? ' C0n£IUSiO,1 - ** 
(ieutar. could easily obscure ST^SS T' ^ ^"^ " "** 

scholars, among Jhom were I ad" ^Z n t 7 "'T 7^ ?** 
natur.Gal.leo. Merscnne. Gasrendi, and Car, s Ushwon ^ ^' OJ ° Pt " ' 

ing the philosophies of„ a , urc I«^3fa2£2Z£*!j "T^ 
William Ashwotth concluded that not only w T/jl P^'osophen, 

several positions could equally h7ve be^fold T*£* bU ' *" ** 
EAshwortb I9 m q " ^ ""■ f0Und amo "B Protesunt thinken 

One of the most sophisticated accounts of PmtesUnt initiatives ifl create the 
space for scientific inquiry is now Peter Harrisons TV WW, » . " ea " n S i Ulc 

wtthtn Protestant communmes. arguably led ,0 understandings of nature in whi^ 

^duwS^ri n °' a - •&*>!- ^** bu, the physical connJ^ 
between , ,„ !g s .hat tbe saences could explore. In particular, the Protesum rejection 

't " ' 3 ^ Precise explanauon of each na,ur.d phenomenon. 

iSed ' t C ^Tl br HarriSOn - ' hat ^ eXpami ° C '^" « 
ich bv^a r " 1 ^ " ^™« nli '-«"'^- En^and was accompanied . 
much by a reformulation of natural theology as by a revision of doctrine. According 
«o exponents of the new philosophy, nature was still a book ,0 be read, bu, J 
increasmgly becarnc a resource to be used for human benefit. As iowly a creature as 
the s.lkwo f m had a raised profile once one focused on its value to huLnk.nd. One 
of the paradoxes of the Scientific Revolution was that, even as new cosmologies had a 
decentnng effect on our place in the universe, the utilitarian thrust of the new science 
oecame more resoundingly anthropnceniric. 

Natural iheologies with their appeals to design and beauty in creation could, of 
■ourse, be supponive of a Chrisfian commitment. But the.r attraction often con- 
5«tcd in their transcending of religious divisions. Arguments for design could et.uallv 
appeal .0 deists, in their drive to dispense with revelation altogether. Images, of a 

pem ;-■%!< 1. 1 !«.■ ..-;,. J k> ..!_■ 

Christian orthostatics was thai they could also be us*d to underwrite the autnn 
of nature. This illustrate* <i£ain thai there i«is do *impte entailment cither f 
» linsttan doctrine* and values to a reverence for science, or from new form 
mechanueic idem* 10 refchioned models of divine activity. This is one of [he rn * 
important lessons from historical inquiry; It coristituies a critique of those popul 
writers today who argue that the conclusions of science entail whatever views abol 
Christianity or about religion in general that they happen ro prefer. 

For a balanced view it must he recognised that exclusive claims for the dependent 
of early modern science on a Christian culture are unsustainable* If Christianity w * 
so germane to the rise of science, why did so many centuries elapse before ^ 
srientific fruits became visible? Rejoinders that point to the need for other sod \ 
and economic preconditions to have been in place haw the effect of diluting, even 
trivializing, the claim tor a distinctively Christian input fGruner 1975; g|). ^' 
subtle objection has been that some formulations of Christian doctrine, cotjeernin 
the Kill for example, were not conducive to scientific inquiry because the)- my* 
prominence to concepts of forbidden knowledge (Harrison 2001). Reformulation 
was necessary to accommodate visions of a wentrfic Utopia. When Francis Bacon 
promoted the applied sciences with the argument thai they would help To restore the 
dominion over nature that humankind had sacrificed ar the Fall (Webster 1075], it 
was a renterprciation of Christian theology, not a natural outgrowth. This is why the 
language of appropriation and rrintcrpmation seems more realistic when rtferrin E 
to the resources within Christendom that could be used in diplomacy for the 

It must also be obvion* that the scientific achievements of the Indian. Chinese, and 
Muslim philosophers of earlier periods preclude any crude claim for Christian 
ownership of science, as must the achievements of the Greek philosophers, so 
respected by the European giants of the seventeenth century (Hashed 1980; Uovd 
and Sivin 2002). Galileo was fiill of praise for Archimedes and Newton for Pythag- 
oras, Moreover, references to the harmony between scientific and Christian bcM 
were often made in self-defence, as when Galileo urged the compatibility of G>pcr- 
mcan astronomy with Scripture in his terror to r/ie Grand Duchess Clmstina < McMul- 
hn 2005: 88-M61. A recent study draws attention to the discomfort felt by the English 
ckrrgy in the ^seventeenth century when time to natural history or natural 
philosophy that they sensed should rather be given to their pastoral duties (FrifiRoU 
2002J. There was no smooth passage from Christian conviction to the practice or the 
serene es. 

Such consideration* complicate any historical account of a supposed dependence 

U* modem socrtlafic movement on Christian doctrines and values. The question 

ocanon * again of paramount .mportance when examining how the relations 

between Ouw»nity and the saences we* constructed. In the German states. 

i^L*! ^ S rdC " dCaeml '»«"« Cnpemiew astronomy (Barker *»,!: 
» Denmark and Sweden, Lutheran theology was more deeply suspicious of the new 

through hts doc„ inc of bibBoI accommodation | Hooyb* a-ft bul Galvlnfan. in 

■ -•M«.i AND RSLH.ION 


■wme locations — Scotland, for example— cnuM k . j ■ • . 
(Ntaonfc eounologv (finite 1W1: ItT^tmo I r***"*** «■ ■ 

our undemanding of this cultural!, f M , 2^ f"^ h "**«»* 
apologetic literature <Br wk e and EKE 23SS K T^V* 
mansion of historical ^mB^SS^SSSSS!! «J J* 
traditions other than those of Christianity Tl P T" g Whnhr ™ eta "•*»»* 

aoo6). setting 4 precedent for future research anTrcat inn furt ^ 

comparative study. ° "^'^ furthcr «PP««umtica for 

References and Suggested Readin 


Asmwobth. W. B. ( «m>. •OnfcolicHoi and Early Modem Science ,„ n r i - Jh. 
R. L Numbers (*d.,). Cod W Nolurf; Wsfor ^ £™ « 2 f. ' „ , u Ua ^ n mi 

Sl C ,'? U V M .' i" 93 '; rf^ Sf" a,iC88 ° ; U-h*** of Chkasjo Press. 

•SaUs^isr ^ **** *- **** *&*« <£■£ 

— -Iicof ). -Darwin. Oesign and the Unification of Nature" in l D. Proctpr led) ft*** 
Mrp« *rf *, // MMM Expert. New Vork, Oxford Un,v CTMtv p rrs ,. I6 ^ X **** 

^^L M n ' 4nd /r^ DE " •^^i"- F ,iM ' > t ^ 1 ' &,ffl '"' in Th ^ c C "*« ^^ 

DimtmtoiB. Osins 16. Chicaeo: Unirersity of Chicago Press. 
B»c.., ,ain I D tl9 „). ^ KWh . rnrf «fa Aye of,!,, Emtk Uvndon: Macm^ar, 

— Uoo5) Orders. /nv S , « m / Srirwe: Mjp» /»«/>,»,«, r» IUr% W «e Man, ,„ 

Bnuui, j^ch- !9 «.. Oxford- Oxford University Press, 
-^-and SwEtim, M. <ao«,6i (ed.j. 7ne*«,a«*aaafaa Chicago, Un-vc,,,, „f Chicago 

CDKwAr Moanis S. (jo,,), t./ri SMnfJM: tom1aaa> Na»am m « Lmufy M m 
<. amttndtto: Cambridge I 'mvcmiy Press, 

^ut^l" ' Sf W)- n ' to"' 11 ™'™ 1 1* «W«w 1750-/900. IV Wm «/ a Miratly of 

■-is- i -v.A .11991) How tl.cfnnnp.uGolinNamt'. History (fSdentt »» 
Dunes. R [tgso] ^.■K.v.^y ; ;^•\nvPA3 ( sia.K»m o ^d* W0 ^th:l>r^pu lll W ~**- ThtMind- Harmondswrth: J'cngiiin. 

Cambridge Crnt-ridge UnivcrMly Pre*. """ '" *«»t 

Ei- ! m » • •. I. (***). a M«.ing with Charles Darwin and the ffitan Pu„w fa. , 

feMWxn M. (**«>. Wiener »* Calling? The Early Modern Dilemma'. Maw*, q^ 

"SSSJi!^ *"** "*• "*-'*" Baktey **■ ta *•*** ^%« 

Fo»< t . tta«k Mi" liMtt rfeiN*NrM»«n. Cambridge: drinkta Unhwkv p a *»} nfob&tndthc Sccr.rifir hmgiwuhr, fr.„„ ,J Jr AttHfc ^ ,_ . 
Somwrt Gmr* Prmcdon : Prmcenn University Pre*. g " * "" 

Cnweuai. Q 2004). The Boek Nolwly Read. New Vork: Walker Kin 

^nrsc^u^,^^?^ w,h *■" ^ «*■* 

Gm«. D. (**). C «* Though,, AnsbicCultorr. London: Rou,led,c ' 5M '" 

!^^S^?,' , if? , ** ,niPdB « Wa Wn«, Univeni.yPrc*. 

«;zSi;::^ ■*■« ^ E«* ,. B „» k , 

— '""«"» V:, ei .„ ak „„ 11bio|i ^ 

LwncsroN. . n M. < IV91K Durmnism And D*ri • 

to ** «.*■* "" C*-** The Mfc,,-^^ Con^,,^ 

•if of C hi. ..„<, *«,. <-*"v*m« of-Sc„ B r,& K>, DwWg , q^^ Unjvrr 

Uorn. C.jrKl Siviv. iV fiooi) The Wa r 
Ml Gtaw New H. We „: Yale ' Uniwwj| ; J** •*■* &*««■ «« J A tolf7W ln ^ g^ 

Ml Muiun.E.fwM) The Shaping of Sv-NrnHfreB,,;, . 
Pame, Ind.: Univers r. , Nout ^ ^"^^^"fSc^UfURa,,,,^,,, Notfr 

Mooie, ). R. (199J). -The CtciUoniw Cosmn* «* p 
And R S. Appleby <ed,.. Fv^tJ^^^,?*™*"*' » "* ^ M my 

Mo.gan. I. | 1W9 ). -The ftrtun n, . . 6JJ ^ ^" 
Unr/mhy Prc«, 43 - 74 . i " f "" m H ^""l H****™, N rt , York: Oxford 

if-jc. ^ ■*•" Sd,C " <e - ^ "■« M^tf. b Brcoke A„d Ih^noftlu i3tHi) . 

Knopf- r t^'tawn ofSamufie Cr«,x PnBm . jj„ y orfc 

Pbachke, A. R. (, 9 ?j). Bioloeical Evoluiinr 1Iu a ,-k ^ 

Wgr & Kegan Paul. S * * AafrCm&al ftib.^ UmAw: R out - 

">»'•« (.»«. m™„. «*„ TaZZZTc; ?f T" ii "~'- ,: • "■ 

■ VMAPK. M. awn* Aim M ftfafl Stfwii i omf Rfltfeim. < Brand Rapid.*, Mich.: Errd 
Srwah, I (i 99 6l Serine through the Scholium: Kelson and Riding Ntwion hTiT 

Eighteenth Century' Nbtory ofSritna, _«: u>ti£ c 

Topham. I 1 199] Scimoc and Popular Education in (he iBjm: IV Role of the firMm, 

Tnvtisa] British faurnal for the History af Science, jfc sw-tyj. * U ' n 

Tuiwm. F M fi97»). The Vfocnfa) Quill u.i Ivtveen Science and Religion: A Pfofe&uAi. 

WknstauG < 19751. 7*r C wr fanvfuf aticn: $at*CC Medicine and tofarm itet-iUfa Lci nd . 
Duckworth. ' * )n; 

Wmn,L Mi*-> nit r&nohVd Root* of rai fruited Grins', 5rieriw t i 5 i/(Mirch) i m 

W HjTfBXAP. A. N 1 192s!. Sanrrr nrui the StaJetn World. New York: Maemillan. 

:*i©4) f «l .). Stimtt and" Dr«rni in England, iftft-tytf Attentat Ashcjtr 
1 <iu E -(1.944). 'TneGeneiuof ttw Concept of Uxc Physical Law', Philosophical Xtriew 


R 1 9 





UVMtf U**. have con «*£ ^ £7 , ' ** 

I num^n thai the soda] scieaces^hropdogv, sociology, pychoiow and 

ste isxr - ,o jccep,ins ,he rc%oniM «-* = i- 

s oSlde^f TT ^"r^" 1 ot * ai <™ «" "CM science, not w rhe 
mo ! ^ K ' P0M T odem ° n «- » hi < h a * <*J«fcw to .hwrfain, per *. PoT 

The Religionist Misconstrual of Soci al 


1 " — - 1 -I. .■..—— i i,|.- 1r H),, I., iiiininii mim,., . 

The contemporar} exemplar of the religionist position is Mircr-i Eliadc, Aecurdli, 
him. and lo a tradition that goes back to the Victorian scholar Friedrkh Max M u 
| on originate and (unctions lo bring believers close to Cod. No other ri K i 
function i» allowed. If the sole way m explain religion is religiously, then only tfjlj 
the field of religious studies are qualified to study religion. Anthropologists, socio" 
legists, economists, and psychologist,!, all or whom explain religion non-rcligfonsk, aw 
excluded. Religious studio thereby deserves the status of an independent discipline 
I mainuin that the arguments offered by Eliadc and others for a monopoly on tii 
rttidy of religion mischaractei-fe-e the social sciences in at least five ways. 

A social saeniifie ateoutn of religion ignores ike believers print of view Assum 
that believers maintain that the}' become religious and remain religious to get close tl 
God. No focul scientist ignores this point of view. On the contrary, it is what soci 
SCKfltfatJ are trying to explain. If the)- were to ignore it. they would be left , V]lh 
nothing ro explain. Their explanation need not. however, be Hie believer's own 

A social scientific account of religion denies tlm irrtducilAy religions nature of td, 
in*, No social scientist denies that the manifest nature of religion ts relidous thai 
bebewn pray because they belies in God. The question is why thev befeve in God 
ThequestionistobesettJed by research, notby.prioripronouncemcnufromrehgiot,^ 
ifce Steven Kepnes: After all, what we [students of religion j want to understand what 
** : want tostudy is religion, and not society or psychology or brain chemistry' (Kcpn e 
'^:5o0.Howdc>csK C p.»es,am-morcrJi3n Eliade. know that religion is not sociological 
or psychological or chemical in nature? His dedaration is dogmatic 

Ekade declares not merejy that rdigion must be analysed only religiously hut 
more, that those who presume to study it any other way thereby cease to «2 
religion: A rchgrous phenomenon will only be recognised as such ifit is grasped U itt 
own level that « to say. d i, ls 5Iu dicd « Mmsihing re|jgious Jo ^ , o £ ( 

~1 « 1 , phrn ° mCn0n b >" — « ° f **** psychology, soci,,, 
econonucs, hngutsdes, an or any other study is false" (Eliade f, 95 8I ,363: p Sfl 

lam a sociological phenomenon. But it does not do so altogether 
Take DurkWs account of religion in The Elementary Fonns of the Religious Lift 

L rTred,^ ! T * ^^ ^ ^ bC "° rdi ^ " NtfWIhefa* Durkhcim 

KomeTdln. , T"* 8 ° : thC ""^ WhcrCV " * ««■ * *3 » P™* 
rsceomes a distinctively rcticioiu croun. 

A «f«.i/ scwmjfe tfccouw „/■ „(„,„„ h f 

« rWreiflwrt ncrount of r<hg lm , h tuUtamni 1 i "^ and ^P^^ry. 

rcligKm.vt strategyfor f.ndingoffihesndil L " ""^""^ "" J »""P'«,Vr One 

scientific inquiry, A social «*,*& 3^'"^' odrfin,iTl »»'W«'«^i social 

functional-. Veductive". and ^pianatorv-iJl J a " nnionl J' ^'^«er«ed as 

By contrast, a religionist account b convent^ 1,1 7\ ^ lnl *" h ««« : ' 

■non-redu.t,ve. and interpmi«"_ te "7" ' " S charjt,cn:Md « suhMantive", 

example. Kepnes. in an Tttemp, JSJlT «T7 ^J"^'"""-^. For 

religionist one, refers to 'subsUniiw „r „„_ ^T som " fi,: J PP«ach with j 

** S 4 |, as if they were fcEul 1^^ ^^1^ ' Kcpn « 

ones.Conversely.hewntcthat^oMwhout LUS S r' ^ ind reduc,ivc 
righdyj called reducionis,' IKep w « s ^^ n ^ dl * , «P la ' u, ^«»ft«' M 


|W,e need not see 0.C study of ,^ <)n J ^^«^™»««*«H«^ 
rmtor^ in ,erms erf soJ B , ogy . p Tho " " l^f 64 ""^ '" <&>* "hgion 
ffitempt to grasp The meaning JlL a „ Z" P ^ » - '"»»"v, -d logical 
TV study of religion . . . „ qi „res (3CS3£S£ ^ W ,Ki befcW "» '"^^ 

exclusive. ( Kcpnc lS *6: 505: it.fe ldd rf ^ ^ *° "" e "•"^ of *&" « not mutuary 

Neither 'functional', 'reductive and 'rjj.liii-i: • 
and 'interpretation" V^r^d^^Tr T '****** '"en -reductive. 
WW refer ,0 ^S^^S.SoeS^K^^^ ^ «" 
AetAoAof studying religion * ^Pl«»tion and mterpreiatjon' refer 10 

explanation dqTrts from ,? Wi^/ M *'^ C,,, * f °» ,fa * , *- fc A ™^«^ 

the reductive ^S» of^S^^^ T *** ^^ B "' 
substantive d^^ and af ff S^M J£J "»"■ ««*^ «^r 

n r f a , UCHVC ** utJI ** non-reductive mierpieiatitins. kn 

account of religion niaeerutisa and behaviourist — terms jIso sometimes utcd inter 
<h«.ngcjMy. Asfdiginii.M Robert Fuller ftttTct; 

Thc problem, however. is thai the ptutkiitir kind of emprricfrm unfiled upon by nur modem 
uwiil maun fifl» m 10 rrsuinta&ih elir dark of night. By retrrwTiine. tbewipc of reality to 
the vMifnat (on~e% Uupvng everyday life, ihr empirical method has ihed no light on the etc*t 
iv\u« thai face hu t i i hoeh a* indivklujU and a* j «]wirv i Futkr 19*7: 501; iiafc ^^jpj 1 

In actuality, the social and wn the natural sciences allow for men talis* a* well aj 
materialist account* of human behaviour- Science docs not mean materialism. The 
relationship of the mind to the brain remains an open scientific question. Philo- 
sophers of science Mich .is Carl Hempel allow for mental ju wdl -is physical causes of 
human behaviour <>ee Hcmpcl 1965; 463^^7). Adolf Gruntuum writes of *thc myth 
that thccj^lanarory sUndardsof the natural sciences arc intrinsically commuted to a 
physirafetk rcductionkm sueh that psychic stales U-fi,, intentions, fears* hopes, 
bdirfis desires, anticipations, etc.) arc held 10 be, at best, epiphenomena, having 
no causal relevance of their own' (Grunbaum 19^4; 75), 

Moreover, few social scieniiMs are themselves materialists. That is. few deny the 
cxt$tci#c of culture and other forms of mental life. Even a.*, resolute a materialist « 
the anthropologist Marvin Harris seeks only to explain culture materially, not to deny 
the reality nf it. Moreover, Harris grants thai the superstructure 'may achieve a degree 
■ 4 lutonomy" from the infrastructure (Harris I1979I >S»o- 56)- Marx (in Marx and 
EngeJs 1957! himself scared)' denies the existence of religion or any other pan of (he 
superstructure, which for him. too. can sometimes operate independently ol 
die infrastructure. Religion is not an illusion The illusion is the assumption that 
the supcrsmicrure explains itself: that the origin and function of religion are ultim- 
ately, not just directly, rdigious rather than economic. 

lust a* few social scientists are materialists, so few arc behaviourists. Outside 
psychology, the heal known is sociologist George Homans 11961). Bu1 Romans, 
following B. F. Skinner, is a methodological rather than a logical bchaviourJM. He 
sidesteps tlfie iwaie of the status of the mind rather than, like the philosopher Gilbert 
Hyle. reducing the mind to a tendency to behave in 2 certain way. 

A social scientific account cf religion denies the twih of religion It is typically 
assencd that a social scientific account of either the origin or, less often, the function 
of religion denies the truth of religion. This characterization is triply wrong. First, 
most contemporary social scientists, in contrast to earlier ones, shun the issue of 
truth as beyond their social scientific ken. They confine themselves to the issues of 
origin and function, Rather than seeking to determine whether religion is true, they 
*«k lo determine why rdigion h believed to be true. 

Second, those contemporary social scientists who do assess the truth of relipon 
claim that the social sciences cither do or should assert the ft uth t not the falsity, of 
religion, Victor Turner (1975: 195-6) berates his fellow social scientists for denying the 
truth of religion. As a rditivs., Maty Douglas (197* pp. «-«,; 1079) consider* 
true the beliefs of aU cultures. Robert Bdiah (1970: 251-3) come* to declare religion 
true, though true to the experience of the world rather than true of the world itself 

* *"< IA|. SCIENCES J| 5 

Peter Bergci ( ( 1969I 1970; 52-97: |u. 7 .i li3So . - L - , 

lhe „*! ,d,„«. ««, confirm . he i^£^ ^' t0nto, ° ***** ,ha « 

Third classical xfcffifci who do pronoun -k-i™, (,, , 
Tyler, Fr«rr. Mar,, and Freud-do no, duZT, ? L """**' 

,„ ■..-.,*. Rathe, », do £ ZZ TS^VSSSS "ft *T* 

Marx, rehgion would not be escjpw ,f be Minied ^ . napl 

bco^c dysfunct.onal ^ Sorneone efee might um>kc Konomlc ^ „ ™££ 

Godof any land .« do« „ on philosophic no, wW^toak, pound*. 
The Ja^ «lu« ,hc »c, af sci^« deny ,he irurt, of r e h K ,on «£» L th, 

For d>em to cnhM thor ranchw* ,bou t ,hc nrigin of rdipon ,o as^ «hc m,£h of 

ahou he functmn cf r,hg,on ,o ««« ,f,c Uuth of rrhgxon w^fd be U, < lln ,mi l wfca, 

(.[196,] ,964) and a* I have argued more gfnerally. i. « po4Si blc to a tg u e fam ,„c 
nnpn or the function of fdjgion 10 either lhe turn or the iakirv of rdigion «itbont 
Committinjt other taUaey (ice Segal is»o. 2005). 

If. as I maintain, all of the objeoioiu lodged againsi th* propriety of a »rial 
saenunc aulysis of rel.gion an: .llcpfnvie. then social wentists are a* emitted lo 
study religion iis religioniib arc 

The Religionist Misconstrual 
of Contemporary Social Science 

Iromcally. there h» arisen among «, me rcagionistj, ih. )ug h certainly not Eliade. the 
opposiie view of lhe social sciences. Social tektttkH are now considered cntillcd to 
itttdy refigion a* fully js r,-i .p.. .-i-is arc- Why? Because social scientists have at kvt 
become convened lo lhe religionist position. 

Religionists who make this claim do not jam that cflniempor.irv >oda] Hii-nlisLs, 
in comrist 1o claSMcal ones, consider religion true father than false or helpful rather 
than harmful. Rather, they asserl thai 'comeroporarks', in tonirast to 'classacakV 
account for religion religiously. But do they? 

PtCCr Berg 67 wc*?. 1 1969] 1970. 1 1979] 19&>1 contends that religion scrvnja 

make human life mranmgfuJ. A meaningful life is one not merely explained Inn |kn 
outright justified. Suffering, above all death, mocks the iuMirkafion* offered br 
secular society. By ascribing all event* to the wjtl of CkkJ, religion offers far Btmdia 
luMifkatHms. Ritual impUnu and confirms tho*e juiEificatioiis. Both because every 
human being needs meaning, or meaningful I new. and because no secular iocieiy can 
fully provide it. religion is indispensable^ 

Ver religion is snTI only a means to a «cular end. For Berber, humans, crave 
meaning in general, not religious meaning in particular. They seek not the sacred 
iltclf hut only the juUiftcatkin* it bestows. Religion serves not trie irreducihlv 
ictigjouu purpose of providing religious meaning but the secular purpose of provi.j 
tng meaning ptrst. fierger'i account oi religion is therefore reductive. 

Cliftord Geertz [196& I9£fc 198$) Ifttttfse maintains that religion serves u> make 
life meaningJaL B> a meaningful life he means one not necessarily justified, as fat 
Bergcr. bur rimpty explained or endured. Threats to moaning can come not only, js 
for Berber, irom suflrrtng, or what Geertz calls 'unendurable events", but a|*o from 
roercfy inexplicable events among which Gecrt/ locales death, and from outright 
unjustifiable ones like the Hotocausi. Whensw unjusrifijMc events need to he out- 
right justified, linexplicahfc one* need only to be explained, and unendurable nnes 
need onFy to be endured. 

For GeerU,as for Bcrger. religion doc* nor emerge until after the efforts of secular 
society have railed Religion arises to provide a far more cogent and powerful 
explanation, alleviation, or justification at troubling experiences than Ihe common 
sense of seculardom offers. Cecil? calls that explanation, alleviation, or justification a 
'world view". The world view not only reinforce* existing social life, as for Bergcr. but 
.\lso offers a model for creating a new social life, or an 'ethos'. RiluaJ fuses the world 
view with the ethos. 

GetoB maintains that hi* recognition of an existential need served by religion 
makes htm non-reductive, but that need is, as for Bergcr. for meaning in general, not 
for religious meaning hi particular. Even if for Gcenz, as for Bergcr, religion is 
indispensable, it remains only a means to a secular end 

Mary Douglas (1966, 1970, 1975) maintains that religion functions 10 safely the 
need less for existential than for intellectual meaning. He Ultra need not merely lo 
explain, endure, or justify their experiences, as for Bcrger and Cecm, but more 
fiindamenully simply to organize them. Religion, like other domains of culture 
organs experience by Categuri/ing it Without categories, life would be not merely 
baffling, painful, or unjust but Outright incoherent. For Douglas as for Bcrger and 
espccia%Ceem, rituals arc the mcams by which order is imposed. To take Douglas's 
most famous example, lewish dtaary laws serve lo prohibit ihe eating of animals that 
?ale the categories into which living things are divided 

Religion for Douglas, is not the only means of organizing experience. On ihe 
contrary, she is eager to ihow ihaT various secular activities like spring cleaning are 
in actuality liiualktic. Vet even if religion were for her. as for Bcrger. the sole mem ..! 
serving its function, thar function would still be iion-rcligiouv 

■■■- »iuai. SCfftNCES 

What is true of Bergrr. GeerU and Douglas is aha imc nf <h* rt .k 
,, l^edbv religion^: Robert fcfaH, ^^^^^J^^^ 

, W F^*riesandreligioni* t srem«infar,p, n Herr HI, h ■ l ^ {lw8K C9 °" 

Trends in the Social Scientific Study of 


..!_.!.. .1 -1-—1. 

lurKiionofreligion has been broadened imweoBara* fin, t h™ri.~ 

trends. The .hod trend, b« represent by Gee™ h* been the sZknJKS 
Oftemxj approach .0 religion *.,„ a hcrmeneutical. or an Interpol, * 

The Propriety of Religion 

In bisnAte writings (Berger i 96(rt . l9b , b , | lsMS7 | 19W fc raiU ^ |ifc ^ 

H' '' 'u 8 T d ™° ttWe * "**■ fo ' J «n«ing rather than challenge M . 
lardom. He denounce, fas own variety of Christianity for supporting rather than 
questioning such American value* and institutions « financial none, di» add 
racial divisions, the Cold War. capital punishment, and the family unit f. we Bergcr 
•*«»«>- Rebpon that seeks to justify society constitutes wh« Berger, enpfavbu 
Sartre , ijmous term, tails bad faith'. ' 

Earlier Bergcr deem* bad faith not only ihe use of rdigion to sanction sccuUrdoirr 
hut, rec iproolh/. the use of secubrdom to justify religion. Ironically. Bergcr denounces 
as improper what Grew appbuds is effective: the meshing of a conception of rwlity 
wnh a way of life. Wherever religion nt^iety snugly, the airbmation of it requires no 
etlort (sec Bcrger 196m: 40-1 1, 

In his later writing (Bcrger 1.969] '970. \vm\ i<#a: Berger ei at , m } Berger 
stresses that the affirmation of at least modem religion demands effort. For the 
competition fromother religionsand from seculardom render* any claim tocertaints 
tenuous. Bereft „| certainty, one must | C jp unto faith: fiuth is no longer WCtouV 
gnwt, but must be individually iduCWd' (Bcrger, KergcT, and Kcflncr 1973: Si). For 
Bcrger. religion is proper when the basis of commitment to j( it faith 

When, in his later writing,, Kellah turns from lapan ( 1957) ami the rest of the HOdd lo 
the L ntted Stales, he chango Ins ami from analv-sing religion 10 heeding ii, His dajn 
thai there cmh id Atnedcui civil religion' is in part a mere lesiaiemeni of Durkhei.n \ 
fundanHntal claim that every society svorships itself (see Kellah 19.-5. 1976. JO02; Bcliah 

tnd I (jmrnarul i9Ao>. Wfl lidbh is intercsTed lew in the social function of civil rclrcion 
titan m the obligation that dvil religion impose* Whews for Purkherm dur>- m (^j 
nicins duty lo soljcTJ-", for Rellah duly in society m«ns duty to Clod. For HelLih, .is t n 
Berger. refipon should serve m nidge whether society it living up ro its ideals. 

The Truth of Religion 

Eariier Bergrr view* the social sciences as unable Co assess ihe truth of religion, Lucr 
Pcrgcr. beginning with /\ forwr ofAttgdf ( I19G9I 1970). reverses himself and comes to 
view the social sciences tt able to affirm the truth 0/* religion. Earlier as well a» foi^ 
Bergcr is intern on reconciling the social sciences with religious truth, but earlier Bergcr 
docs *o by declaring the issue of truth beyond the social scientific ken: 'it is impassible 
within the frame of reference of scientific theorizing to make any affirmations, positive 
or negative, about the ultimate ontoJogical status of this alleged reality* { Bereer | w\ 
1969; too) 

Later Bergcr reconciles, the social sciences with religious truth by arguing thai the 
social sciences can tstaWsh the existence of God— thi* b) cjtalo&uing signals <rf 
rrartscendence. «r Ehow experiences of hope, humour, and above all order email, 
because they presuppose, the existence of ihe transcendent: Thus man & ordering 
propensity implies a transcendent order, and each ordering gesture is a signal of this 
transcendence' I Bergcr [19*9] j/j;< Whereas earlier Bergcr spurns any evidence 

for briicf as bad faith, later Bergcr solicits evidence, 

BelUh calis his later approach to religion "symbolic realism" In contrast to his own 
eariicr 'consequential rcductionism'. symbolic realism is concerned not with the 
effect of religion on society but with the 'meaning* of religion for believers, them- 
selves. Religion for believers is not a scientific-like account of the world but .in 
encounter with it; 'If we define religion as that symbol system that serves in 
evoke the u.ufiry that includes subject and object and provides tW context in 
which life and anion finally haw meaning, then 1 am prepared lo claim ihu... 
religion is true I feUah [1569 1 1070: 251-.! 

The Hermetic ulicaJ Approach lo Religion 

Like both Bergcr and BclLm. Geertz <io;,, ®fe m$) sniiu his focus-in his case 
from an explanatory approach to religion lo an imerprclive one. What he means by 
interpretation fluctuates. When he follows ihe philosopher Paul Ricoeur (1983), all of 
culture, including religion, 5 considered akin 10 a literary test, which therefor 
requires the equivalent of exegesis. Here interpretation refers io the theme of the 
text, explanation lo ihe origin and function of Ihe ten. 
When Geenzfollow*GiH>en Ryle, ihedistinctioft between interpretation and esplan 
■ more technical. Geeriz uses Kyle's own example of the difference between 
twitching and winking (see Gecrtz 1973: 6). In the familiar sense of Ihe terns Vause 
and 'meaning; a twitch is causal, or meaningless, because it has no purpose. It is 


inswluntaryandtherefofcunintenlional. It j, m « IbmOWU. iw- 

itispurposelevv A wink l| meaning! SSSS^^ 

aonmudy. .purpose rather thana^use. l^^^^^TT^ 

,i E. purposeful, or in.enuon,!. Dm also S^Z^a!^ ******««** 
behave in ***** one does not *^^1^^^ Of 

of die behaviour, for cause and effect mna h* .».<*.».. -n. 4 <; ™ e 

.mriHg ««*, d,«. ,0 engage in rehgious and oiher sense-making aSSfS 

**OBdm Aey engage fa rct, g , ous , lnd other ^.^ activ] wh «JJ 
raAer Aan effect humanity's sense-nuking character ^^ 

„r?hJ t '£ T" ° lh Z^ BS ' ' ha ' ^ -*"» * -'"Pretarton' b the primacy 
of Ac par„ CU lar «, the general. By their nature, gen^l^uons di5r ^ r<j lhc 

Phenomenon h« the oodon Ant Ae c^ncc of what ,t means » b« human B mo« 

5.1 ^ T T a,ve '" IS pTOplc or ""' b a P rfiudl " «" " e nw »«««% 

obliged lo share (Gccm i$ 7 _, : 43). 

GeertTi hriMm m Ac superiority of Ac particular to Ac general helped 
poneer Ihe poM-modem approach to aillure, includAg religion. Ve. Omi hirmelf 
ha, never gone «> 6, „ hi, a^wedlv pcs.. nW d etru4 , suceoSM* He do« no, rri.0 
pnenlfetwr* ahogether. He dc, noi dismiM the po«ibi(i ty of an objective anal^i, 
of cuilure. Mm important, he does not pit an interpretive approach againU a 
scrcTHthcone. In oen -Thick Descriptor,' (GcerH . 97J: ch. ,). his programme 
ntcrprctiw statement, he averts that iniorptetation AouJd supplement, not sup- 
plant, explanation. Anlh.opotogy Aould be an 'interpreii« science-. 

Objections to the Social Sciences 

as Scientific 

The »lrategy of religionitts has been lo ebim Aal Acsociahcienccs arcirrelcv^ni 10 
the siudy of religion. Rarely has the scientific status of the social sciences been 

challenged lny them. Yet surely otic can do so. If ihr thrones applied to religion fall 
*hon of their own purported Mdndaid, then the application must fall *hc»rt, .ind 
religionists can continue 10 ignore chc social scientific challenge. 

Mam 1 of the objections to social science as science rest, however, on an erroneous 
view of wiut xnifcrs science science. Lxeimwpilv. 10 hegin with. i* the -mumprjon that 

to he scientific, the social soences dare not go beyond observable* — behaviour in 

unoh*en j bit* — belief* and emotions. The natural science* begin with the obscn -able 
world but venture Ijcyond il to account tor it. True, there are philosophic* of science 
notably mstrumcntaJism and constructive empiricism, that refuse It) go beyond Ihr 
observable realm, hut the sciences themselves ilo u :. 

Equally erroneous is the assumption that, to be scientific the social science* musi 
be 1 predkriw. John Stuart Mill, defender pflr oxdknccoi the scientific status of the 
study of humans, cites 'udnlagy' as am indisputable science that nevertheless nukes 
inaccurate predictions isce MID \\8?ll I98S: 31). Mill simply distinguishes between 
the cract and The inexact sciences, which means presently* not inherently. inexact- 
Astronomy was once .in inexact science- that his since become an exact one, a* likrly 
has tidology, and as may yet die social, or 'moral' sciences. 

Alasdair Mactntyre has argued that 'Jaw- like generalizations' in the social sciences 
fiall short of their counterparts in the natural sciences (see Maclntyre 1981; 84-103) 
And for him fall .short they must- For whereas science predicts, there is \ystcnuiiL 
unpredictability in human anairs" (Maclntyre 1981: 89). He contrasts statistical 
generalizations in the social sciences to those in the natural sciences. But his contrast 
in fact rests on a misujsdmunding of statistical Laws (see Salmon 1942; 4i6h7» and 
more, on an exaggerated view nffewtin the natural sciences, where, notably, ecrrru 
pdribu* douses arc aLso to be found (see Hempcl 19IW: 150-1). As ever more prate 
instrumcnis have been created, the accuracy of predictions in exact sciences such as 
astronomy and pfa ski has actually decreased (sec Salmon 199£ 406). The most 
fundamental laws of physics may turn out to be inhcreiJEly probabilistic, in which 
case there will never be perfect prediction. 

Objections to the Study of Human 
Beings as Scientific 

If one set of objections to sociaj scientific theorizing is that the social sciences do not 
qualify as scientific, another set of objections is the human world, 
fcl^on. cannot be studied scientifically. One of these objection* lias already been 
considered: the daim that the cause of human behaviour b mental rather thjn 
physical and that science deal* with only the physical world. 

Another objection U the assumption that humans arc free, so that their behavioui 
cannot be predicted. But this objection confuses prediction with control. While ftee 

will versus determinism remains a perennial usu- <h* . . 
distinguishes between bmwtog a p^\Zl^ T ° f ""P**"*" 

hir»t Ua *****!** well Z^Z7^ V "? ~* iL A »** 
is no. caimn S the patient to *ZtZ!Z£ * *"** * ^ *»««" 
For Hempcl (19*5; -163-87) and others .i*- L 

wrth explanat.on refcrrm* To tj,c .t.tribution of human hHuviour « „ £T i 

W=ratst;ttSL , !£t£ Susses 

behaviour w,,h emanation referring tn fe «c„u„t of*. bJ^i^J 
found m Ricoeur £*) and .1 rimes in A. ioeonsrteoi < kcm ( , wl . Hefc ^ 

answers to .he «wm, our ease, Why did « do persons become .S 
By «M «, , hcse usages. C |j ingwood dfcms fate,^ JZ$££ 
^compatible ,vays fur behaviour, Oases, which expiation proX 
«e separa* from the behaviour ,hev brfc, about., 25 im ^ "tit 
prondc*. arc not separate from behaviour, in whkh case wfc, ,bev £ 
their arpreoioni raihcr than ihm tjftt*. R 

_fo u* Collingwood's own example, u ay thar A e «««. of Bru.^ stabbrng of 
Cae«r was . hunger for power would be i. say tha, power hungenng » a tnk u, 
Brutus .cpar,,. from ,he «, bbl n 8 . « ,he cffccc of lhj , ,Tai, K M v InTtE 
m WU ,„ s of Brmu* I subbing w» a hwger fo, power wo u U be ,o «y rL poww 
hungering w„ a irail in BiutUS expressed outwardly in the stabbing. n, e ^ 
become, pari of .he mcanm S . or, of power hungering. As a cause, power 
banprtag ^ oniy wh,, brought about the deed. A* a power hungering ,n 
addn-nn ca^ma the deed as power n„ nj?!nn8 . tBAed , lo ^ „. M , ( „, u ^ ,,,»_ 
sought powers to say n-hy he did I.. As CoHingwood Umo.ulv puts it. ^„ fe 
Uhe hislonnl knows what happened, he already know^ why it happened- (Cofline. 
jvood lw& 2I4) . Tltis distrn^ion between in.erpre.auon and explanation b to I 
found no. only in O-llmpvood but also in the philosopher, Wllham Dr*r > w , and 
Peter W inch ( .u^-and insofar as he follows ftyfc ( irerI/ . Ko r . xu four§ lhc distinc . 
t.on b that Ix-lween what Collins-Cod and Dray call Wtittf, a lem, u^iJ broadly to 
.Mdude rrnieh of social science, and nMural jcience. (On the varying wa« of 
clBiinguishing between interpretation and explanation, see m *. . 

I>onald Davidson (tg«j> has argued a^lrtsl .he mterpretma claim that rra.wns 
eannot be causes because they are pan of .be behaviour they spur. Davidson not« 
in causal relationships between event! in the world, such as Hruru>> tabbing of 
J.'v.r can be dcwrtM m more OW WK) BrBttMl (tabbinB of C*et*l B 
describahle as cither the expression or the effect of a hunger for power Davidson 
accept* the interprets jtf vtesv .ha. an in.erpreuiwn not only accounts for | behav- 
KIW but also cLtssifies *nd tlicrelry redncrflMt it. bu. he a,g„ c » that there can be a 

causal s> wd! at • meaningful rcdc*cxipbon. Moreover, a rcdocriphan chit \$ mt 
lift) na explanation fails lo connect the dagfnVation lo the behaviour it {$ 
uippo^ed to classify. Unless Brutus'* hunger for power caused him to stub Clear, the 
stabbing can scared* be <ia$sifiai as power hungering. 

The issue is not whether -til of the philosophical objections to social scientific 
theories have been met. Davidson himself -stresses the difficulty of foirnuUrine fea ws 
that connect reason* to actions. The issue is that the objections res* on a proper grasp 
of theorizing. PM-mcxfcta objections. I proceed to argue, do not. 

»"t SOCIAL SClENf PS ^ii 

Post-modern Objections 
to Social Science 

By no coincidence, post-madernism has been embraced by religionists for its un- 
compromising rejection of science* natural and social alike. A post-modern approach 
to religion spurns J scientific approach as outdated because modern. Indeed, 'modern 
and ' scientific' are used interchangeably. 
In hi* introduction to Critical Terms for Religious Studies Mark C. Taylor unhesi- 
ujly pronounces the post-modem approach 10 religion superior to the modern 


mierpreten schooled tn postmoocmism and postmucturajism. the seeming])- innocent 
question 'What is...?' n miupht with ontologicaj and cpisiemo logical presuppositions ihar 
are deeply problematic To ask, for example, 'What u religion?' assumes thai rciigjoa has 
■oav i . a genera! or even universal essence that can he discovered through disciplined 

investigation. - ~ But what if religion haj no such essentia] cdmtity? What if reason ts not a 
universal phenomenon?.. -Investigators create— sometimes unknowingly— the objects and 
truths they pra£ts& to diwovtr $oirwr critic* claim tJui appearances to the contrary notwith- 
standing, religion u a modem Western invention.., . 

[MJany critic* schooled in posutructuntU»m insist that the very effort to establish iimilar 
rd« where there appeal to he differences is. in (he final analysis, inteUectuaDy misJWiac and 
politically misjtu)ded ( Taylor twS: 6-7, 13) 

Tbii statement evinces most of the confusions thai constitute post-modernism 1 take 
them up one by one. 

The Confusion of Universality with Essence 

Contrary to Taylor, theories of religion do not claim to have uncovered the essence' 

of n%um Essence is a metaphysical issue. Theorizing is a merely empirical enter- 

rbeories claim to have discovered only the conditions for the emergence 

fagm] and perpetuation (function, of religion. Few theories claim to km 

discovered even the necessary and uifficimi r^a;. 

r v .- MJmcient conditions Cor the crncrreru-r and 

perpetuation of religion. Fnp example, Max Weher nff^ *.. OTCT b™ e «w 

cient. conditions for religion: rrtJL^r^^J^ ***"* Ml ™ ffi - 

rnagtc-r^uircsa c* E Z cv^n^S^ 5 2 * 

re^on whenever , group .masses regularly, there will be rehg.on Bunh ZlZ 

f* M ^ ?*" *2" £* * * ™civ P^abilistl, so „ „enTuI 
e«m Mom theories modestly claim that if certain conditions exist, relbSn^ll 
probably, but not always, arfce and persist, wwgwn wtu 

The Confusion of Invention with Discovery 

Even grant th.t ^on. itself an anoent tern,, is somehow . modern Western 
tuition. Ifctf cto «j made relentlessly nowaday*-,™, exhaustive* by Daniel 
Dubu,sso» tn his TV fctem CtosmK&tn ,/***„ [»*,, lhou ^ h . l0 !££ * 
deems rdipo„ a hoary Chrxstian invention rather than a nrodem secular one. But 
there ,s , OJtTerence betuee, verting that Wjjbrf arose in a particular setting and 
asserting that It thereby fa.Es to apply toother settings. To the extent that DubuLn 
sinves to show, no. simp y to declare, that the concept does not ,pp|y beyond its 
pomt of ongin and should therefore be abandoned, his procedure tt unimpeachably 

The |K>st-modem contention of Taylor, or of some critics', is that no testing is 
necessary Re!.g.o n . because created by the modern West, not merely ,tmy prove but 
mm prove a misfit anywhere else. Bui how can post-modernists be to confident* 
They can be so only by contusing invention with discovery. To quote Taylor 
agiid; -Invesugators create... the objects and truths they profess to discover 1 
Taylor 109* 7). But how does Taylor know? || can only be that knnwUjge of th< 
time and place of the origin of *fini(k»u ami theories reveals this insight to him. But 
to deny the possibility of discovery on the ground* that one kmiws the point of oikin 
is to commit the genetic fallacy, TTieoncs in the natural sciences, no less than those in 
the social sciences, arise at some time and pUce. 

The Confusion of Students with Natives 

Against those who, like Frazcr. assumed that 'primitive-;' possessed magic or religinn 
raifter tfum science. Bronislaw Malimmsid argued that in fact •primitives' have 
science as writ u magic and religion. That prrmitives* do not themseJvK use the 
term 'science' did not fare MalinowskL By contrast, post-moderns wuH be apo- 
plectic For them, the *mic is not whether the term religion fir* l>m ^hoeumocted 
11. laylor ihus praises Jonathan Z. Smith for alerting us to the danger of mistaking 
'our' categories for 'thrirV. As Smith declares in his contribution to the Taylor 

tollctiKin. " Region" b not a native term; »l U .= icm i|-jt \k treated byscholjn. fa 
their intellectual porpOK* and therefore is theirs lo define" {Smith 199ft: 2&u rem , 
SillMl 2004; 193-4)- What Smith cautions about icliginn*. he also cautions about 
other standard terms fn religious ttudies. 

Are We To believe flat modern theorists did not realize the vocabularies they 
created were unknown lo the cultures lo which those vocabularies were applied? Dij 
lung naive-lv assume thai archaic man" chatted away about hU 'archetypes'? If not 
then ore we bring totd? That the terms may not fit cultures other than ours? 
Who would demur? Only one option is left: that our terms catmvt fit. and cannot fii 
precisely hecause ihryare ours v not their?. 

To nuke this daira is to confuse roles. No doctor defers to a patient in malaria 1 
d ky wttB . Th c pari en c may harbour the ailment* but the donor is trjnu-d to identify 
ii. Deferring; to the patient confuses the subject— the patient— waiti the scholar— the 
doctor. Medical tenm are not assumed to i>e ihe subject 5. The issue h whether 
they tit. 

The Confusion of Explanation with Effect 

Theories of religion arc accounts of religion. They are not policy siatemcilU. Some 
theorists like religion, others c&lifce- it— this because they like or dislike the effects of 
religion. Post-modernism introduces a mcta-levd of assessment; now one lika 0Fi 
usually, dislikes not religion but theories of religion, and this for their effect on 
religion and in turn the effect 0/ religion. The inspiration here comes from Mkhel 
Foucault. whom Russell McCutchcon. in his Afonuhcnmng Religion (1597). applies 
to theories of religion, 

Rather than attacking all theories of religion. McCutchcon attacks only the 

religionist theory epitomised by Eliade. He objects to Eliade's ignoring the non- 

nrhgious onpn and function of religion, ami thereby supposedly Janclioning 

whatever political effect rdiginn in fact has The religionist theory, or 'discourse' 

nunu/actures' the theory of religion not merely to give religiosity autonomy, as has 

Jong been argued, hut even more to deflect attention away from the policial origin 

and fun,tjon of religion. Whereas Marx and Engcls maintained that religion serves 10 

perpetuate inequality. McOitcheon tells as that a theory of religion serves to do the 

umc By overlooking the importance of these additional |ie. material] aspects of 

human existence, scholars |of rdfejonl ma y not necessarily be pronwtins these 

rnbiknced distnhutions of wealth or influence, but they certainlv minimal./^ the 

significance of such factors aicCutcheon i W : 13). 

Who would ever have imagined that capitaliito needed any further spur to 

tar avarice? But even zi one grants the religionist theory, or discourse, its effect, 

he theory can still be true. To say otherwise is lo commit the functionalist fallacy. If 

hcory should be muiMd, and retained fordoing what iheorics do. which, 

toitvcneMirx s n*es on Fwrhach, kmcnb tninterpret theworld.nottochangeiL 


The Confusion of Failed Theories with All Theories 

Theories of religion can fafl for multiple reasons. For «««,«!- .v 

region,, fi>, ,he brand of po*. modem isn, K*J i !?" "»*>**+.*** 

.Ik .«U that the U,«riT * *' """ ° f ""^ <*** ™ 

The most brilliant Application rtt IVrri.l^^ a 

which « U t Q«c„ for fe OnJ oTrXL^ "^ *! "^ * 

theories of religion Ju :6 h, a ho3. ttoSlfiS 2T25 ^ 
'^ -"B-onis, theories vvi.h socia. J« ^it^d uLT^ ^ ** 
Durkbcm Freud. F.liade. and Midler. A gli ^ Z, ^ uT "^ 

text* ur.dnn.ine .heir in.cnt.ons. ' ^ '**" ** ** ^ 

For example. Durkhcim's definition of .he «,,«) * .he ideal sodny is -p™^ 

t^ of .mother define lhe MCrcd as , he £ FrcudV.nnC 

r T T , g ° f f 810 " (! " ° Urkheim ' , "'5l '^ «»- E^» Fred, who £ 

1 Th rz enc "* " ms ™ ttly for "« p^- - 1 s «« <* u* S5L 

rather ihu, as for Ma^^wj, for any syatnafc undcrminrngof lhc effon 

Ji^rT f i *™™ f ' h L P °?'! ,0dCra '"^"-l^n she draw, .ha, ,hc quest 
ft* h ston«l onpn. for her the kcj- concern „r a , fciiI ckMkaJ lhwrili ^ ^ 

abandoned. B,„ even suppose .!«, all classical theory faded ,n a common qu«, for 
the (usunod ongrn of religion. D«e s.jb^ua.t .heonsts no, try? Why does .he 
nuliirc of some spell the &.lurcof all? 

The Confusion of the Quest for Similarities with the Denial 
of Differences 

Taylor declare th.1 'the very effort to establish Mmihriiir* where there appear to be 
d.rTerer,cww...iracffl«auaUy misleading (Taylor i 9 »8: „). Who would di«gree» Bu. 
the only tt ay to determine whether sirr.ilari.ies mask differences is by research 

Moreover, why are differences more significant .han rimikritJai SkniUrities, not 
just drfferences. of.en lie beneath .he surface. An emigre to a forcgn coun.ry 
« typtcally ,.rmk fin. by the differences and only later notices the similari.ies. 
The pr.v.legmg of differences means the rejection i.f theories, for theories arc 

g riHT jEmfont. Bui theories do not deny differences. They deny the importance of 
differences. Theories do not bar the quest for differences. They simply do 
undertake it themsdvr*. Their goal is precisely to Account for similarities. Ai the 
same time thai quesi is unavoidable even Alt Mime Peking differences. ferJuUm^ 
begin onry where similarities end (.sec Segal 2001: >4^-9>. 

f nwrni.iiii thai The post-modern challenge to the social scientific study of religion 
fs as dubious as the traditional religionist challenge has been. Post-modernism in rm 
way fetid* off The social sciences, which remain free to study religion a* fully as jk 

References and Suggested Reading 

Beuah. R. N. 11957I. Tohqpwii Migim. Gfcncoe, HI.: Free Pre**. 
— -UsVo). Beyond Belief. New York: Harper & Row. 

0975 J Jhi Proton Ccnrmnt. New York: Seabory 

(107* the Revolution and Symbolic Realism' in J. C Brauer <eu".), Retipon and the 
Amman Aeiafunon, Philadelphia; Fortress Press, $5-7^ 

(atitt ufcg and Modernity: America and the World, in R. Madsen eial feds.) 

Me* 'd.»JfrT, J j > , pcrfcdey: Unnvrsity of California fofS.4&-?& 

- and Hammono, P. E. (199&K Kjrirrio o/OwV tfefiejwi. San fawefew Harper. 
Bbker. P. L fitficii. 7VN*i*e^/So^<rnrn Aj-vmHrW, Garden City, hMb iTouWcdjy. 

Ugeifr). The Precarious Vision. Garden City. NY: DouUeday, 

I IW7i 1*691. Hie Surrod &tNpy. Garden City, N.Y.; DouMeday Anchor Boob. 

tlwJ >970) ^ RMmpro/.^yrb, Garden City. K.Y: DoubledAy Anchor Books. 

(J1Q70I loiki). TV HevwroJ tmptmm Garden City. .V.Yj Uoubfeday Anchor Boob 

BEftHB, B..aad Kelutcr. H. (x m l Wv Homefefs Mind New York:' Random Home 

Cat UWGVO0D, R. G. (1946). T7re (Jea efNiacny, ed. T. M Knox. New Yorlc OxforJ Lrnrversny 

tUvmsoN, D 19ft .?/. A.irotu. Reasons, and Causes", journal a /Philosophy* 40: «8j-7oo. 
Dol-qian <M. t-stffO. J^rtr> arrd 1 £ttfrger, London: Koutloi^e & Kegan PjlI 
(1970). Natural Sjmhsb, 1S r <dn. New York Pantheon. 

— (1975). froptkri Meanmgh ist edn. London and Boston: Routledge & Kegap Pant. 
— OCT)- 'World View and the Core; in S. C Brown (est). PhOosophicat Dispute m thr 

Soaal Scuthc*. Brighton; Harvester Press; Atlantic Highland* KU Hum-Miities Press, 

Dka r. W. H. 1 1 057>. iMwi and EMptounian in History. Oxford; aarendon Press. 

i!u IS ^lP* ^ ™' Wk * tew C ^"-^« * *%** trans. W. Sayers. Utimofr. 
lohm Hopkins Itaivcf sitr Prcvt 

tort Free Press. 

^..^j'f 1 19fti) ft3Wl ™ '* Cmnjwmin* ^%*r n . trans, R, Shced. Clmbodt 
Meridian Boob. 

Erooom, F (i$0). r«wis Man Luther. New Yorfc Notion. 

ft**, S. (iosoK ftfc» and 'A/w trans. |. Stmchcy. New York: r^»rton. 



([1001 1 tge4 ». Tlje Furitrr f an Itfui, 

T^ c " m ,RHi8,OB ,nd Ejnpiricilra ln ,hc Woriu " f p - ^-- ***. » 

LOT) 7fc- ImerpKUticn rfCuhunM. New Yort: Bwu Brwk. 

(»»)}. V> a \ Knc^UJ^c New York Basle Bockv 

"seas aaai? j,ih * a ^— -«- ^ * «*^^ 

KtniH. S. D. ( irft). -Bridgi^ the c lf ton,, Undmtandlne ,*r Ex^Lh™, *- l 
Marx. K.. ,,nd Es 6K «, F. (,,57). On Rrlipan. Uwk FomRn Uiigww, Publiihin, 

to ;* c Ph,hx>phy of Sana, Englewpod Clifli. N J.r Prenike-HaB, «m- m 

Ammoirt ^oidinn/ ofJUItpon. 48: 403-1,}. 

(1989). ArfigMft and (fc $ffcutf ScHrneea. Atlanta: 5cnolars Press. 

CWWK &Q>Auinin: am? Insetprrtinji RHigien. New Yoik: Peter Lane. 

-<M0i). In IMensc of the Comfwativ? Method". NiweA, 4S: 339-74. 
— (zoos). -James and Freud 00 Mv^.mt,, in I. C.nei.e fed.), UHhwr fcmo und "Tire 

■mam afRHjg»uf £spennrre: london and \Vw York; Routledge, 114-^4. 
Smh-m. I, 2L (loo*). ^Rdjgion. RdfefcttS, fcligfous*. in Taylor (190s). £69-84: rrpr. in Smith 

I2.Cjo.ji, clt B, 

tax*). Matins Rttigbti. Chicago University of c^iwgo Press, 

Taylos:, .\l C <ij»S) <ed.). Cnnul Terns for Migious SmJia, Chica«ot l/ n i«rsiry of 
Chicago Press, 

Tuinbr, V. 007s). tortatwnanJDmnatimmNdwbu Ritual Iihaca. \.V, CotoB Unrver 
sily Press. 

WttKft, M (fi W f 1964). 77,^ Vwrycf Social and fronemk Orpmuatum. ed. T. Pars, 

trans. A. M. Henderson and X Pinons. Glerwoe, IIL Free Pfes*. 
Wjnch R (,9^). The idea of a Swat Scwnce and its Reiauan to Ph$h«>ph% London; 

RoutWge & Kegan PauL 






ther than ethical issues surrounding science, most work in the philosophy of 

science centra on two main issues: the ontology given by science— thai is. what 

nee is telling at abnui the nature of the world— and the methodology and 

cpistemoiogy af aSeace. Since it it mcfa ,i vasi field, philosophy of science main 

many contributions to understanding the interaction between science and rdhaoa 

.- mote than can be discu^-d here. One of the most important contribution, dm 

philosophy offence potentially could make, however, is helping provide a frame- 

•wrt .far understanding what the science* are telling us about the world that is 

nendly to rehyon yet true to science. One of the most important questions in dm 

regard. I Define, is the issue of reductionism and its alternative.... 

Various forms of red unionism have been mainstays of those scientists and phOo~ 
ciphers who arc the most vocal opponents of religion, such U Peter Atkins. Riduid 
Dawkim. Edward Wilson, and Steven Weinberg. It is no. that reductionism is ..self 
mcompatibk «d. religious belief- one could consistendy view the world as a giant 
Newtoruaa dock and still heliew that God created and sustains it, U many in the just 
Kmism. however, points a sparse picture of nature and human kings 
uaat. a. least fa, many, seems opposed to our religious semibilitie*. Gods relation to 

- — «■ — - >T 

nature, !*«r mM-intc. becomes larucjv ctrmvil w^l j 

of meehamcal intervention. taTSStSfS f^ "■*■"•*■ ■" 

person, r. le^ Utile mom far ,h c lutein 'i SJi?, ' h r CiW * thc hun " n 

ma. the mind is „»* *ffl.^U^£S^J^ r J**'****" 

c^tha-the^tion.L.weenmmdtd^n fij£^1ftlL* ? T 
the otherwise rigid methuUcal order of ,hc hrai ' Tr T ° r,n,frvCT "°" •■> 

many other* claim* thai the d«*S mfe. „ „ ; AI ' UeT M «»*.fcBown 8 

2 pbifa.phr and much r^^ZC Z »l m ^ 0rb ° ,hn,Kh 

existentialism-has been to add r"^ a .ttZ wTh" * ""k^* 1 * ° f 
* the scientihc ^ J EKSft^^ J*J 

m-13. 115-17. tao-i. u6). ^' 4 " 5, ''• 

Of course one could accept this, and then find meaning largelv other in some 

would be .0 develop » alternative .0 reducMonism rha. is more frienZo ^man 
values -drd,g,o n . One such widely discussed alternative is the Xw of leZ 
-jpto^h, idea tha, me universe isarranged in mWfcfad lev* of comp S 
wnh new and causal powers emerging a, each level This view » drsLS 

TJ^JT ?7 nriuamm*,. and briefly indicate its poten.L for p3J 
ti wld 2f5i " ,B ! r r 0,0 > feA Jnd """■odological famewci for ,£ 
ssiuucand tel.g,ond.^gue. This alterna^ grows ou, of considering wh a, I believe 
is .he strongesj reason for rejecting the reductionist world-view: namelv. „ U a„ Ium 
rnccha„,cs-.ha, extraordinanly paradoxical theory .bar is widely either' misunder- 
stood or ignore. J W] ,| Cill j |hr aJImutu , c , j^^p ^ „ TO . r ^ ffji , r , mri ^ % 

.^ developing a proposal suggested by scientistytheulogian John Polkinghorne 
and theologian Eric Mascaj]. though perhaps no. , n me way thev would (Mascall 
WfrSa-o. 174-7: Polkinghornc »<»: 8«). Although I wifl critique emergent com- 
pfany- aad compare ,, wi,h my view. I think thai a , this stage, all 
aiterruuves to reductionism should continue te. be rigorously developed We 
will begin by explicating a common farm of reduetiomsm, whs. I call -compositional 
reduction^ (CR). and then .seeing why quantum mechanic* presents serious 
difficulties for It 

Fof a current boak-lengrh ireatmcnt of emergence. seeCUyioo wo*. 

Compositional Reductionism Explained 

CR ii I strategy of explanation pursued from the Scientific Revolution in the Kim 
tcrnlh century until ' • mdsttlH the framework of thought in which most sctcniiu 
vsurk. Atairding to CR, ihe properties -uid behaviour of a whole can in principle h* 
explained in ierm% of ilic proprrties. relations, andexrcrnal causal interactions 
ofitv pjrr^r[io»iiriMu*nm»viil) their lAusaljml >patial relations with ihe environment 
This programme was very successful until Ihe beginning of (he twentieth Century, wfrh 

the advent of general refativityand qua mum mechanics. Even the electric and 

rn,, : 

Betfc field* introduced in the nineteenth century were still understood in term* of QV 
with their parts now being an infinity of points in space with vinous field values being 
assigned to them. CR ha* no doubt been a powerful view of the world, bringinjz an 
rtniologicaf and explanatory urn ' the physical world and the sciences, which u one 
Of tbc FttSOnS hftJ held such sway oi-cr peoples minds. Below, we will showhow 

quantum mechanics iQ.M ) presents almost fetal difficulties for l. R 

It should be noted, however, that reductionism need not always be CR. Another 
important kind of reduction ism involves claiming thai one domain of phenomenj 
•mb as psychology, is reducible to another domain, such as neurology, without 
suhsenhni; to ( R In fts more global' form, it claims thai there is a single theory, 
such as siring theory, which can account for all phenomena, even if that theory it 
non-CR. Obviously, we cannot take on these Other forms of reductionism here, 
though I wiU argue that QM also raises problems for non-CR versions of global 
rcductionisnu 1 beltane* however, that the failure of CR casts significant doubi on 
iheNc other forms ol irdurtEoniffDl 

Quantum Mechanics and Compositional 


Quantum Holism and CR 

The first probfem that QM presents for CR is QMV inherent holism. Within the 
standard formuUiion of QM. 3 physical system— such as lha! involving a th j 
particle— is assigned a stale vector, which is a mathematical entity thai purportedly 
icDs *ja everything there is to know aboui the system.- 1 For states consisting of more 

The standard formulation of QM is the formulation aClUlUy u*ed by physical!. l\ 
catf&te otatnoi forma] rule* for assigning junes to physical ifrtero*. detcrroimns h«* 
the unci cttotvc. and drawing oatuaical predicts regarding the r«utu of irarkw mouv 
Bfement* at ih* syswrn— such a* a m«*irancm of the energy, momentum, or bmihw 

••"ii^oriiYflPtCti :!■-. 1 


than one particle, typically QM does not alW «,- - 

«**»* «* or *« ««e of * BBSSSit 1 SEE? TS 

hMc fa no, fam by ,hc ,n.rin»c propmic, oT** »^«1 5 t* * ?' 

Indeed, in ,h< «c of idc-mica. P^^u hT '^T T *"* "** 
iff no such relics, since *r parlH^L JL^T f 1 ™^ * c,ra *- fh « 
.he ra^m Of QM, ihey « in^ZX. ^"""^ " "^ """—i" 
Entanglement shows that QM represent-, the world i« 9 •«„ *w, 

.mop cut »K of QM have been g.vcn, bu, none yield* the CR pic.urc JcScnM 
.hour ,he wdd,, r iU um M ,c ,hi S .ooflia with CR. W M loot J ^ tfnS 
d^ v,_cw of ,he world. In fee, Ihe & moM .h^rrm d Ur to ,„ hn IWI . £jlW -^ 

underlie reality b«*W « ca^h, 5( >| dy of ta^ 22 to 
M n« wuh one ano.h.r «n rcp.oduce ,hc .now trrsctv verifWd) pre dk,k,n» ofQM 
U „k*nW pan. a « .hough, ,n tort wilh „ £h „, hcr imlJrIan P rous|v . J '^25 

Tov^ ^^rH iCl '" C k !?' r " , ? 0n ^""VWIftyofCR wfth ,»,y -.uc^oMheoor 
o OM^ As a ph.lo.ophc, rf physio, Ura Maudlin, co^fo after eamwing 
Ac notfan ouet,on from tho p*«p«ii*c oMtmiivc u , ■ „ : , lim ulmn g QM: 

TT,r , 1, , ,1 Hate of a complex .» (annol j^,^ ^ [educrd ,,, f 
b«, of « parU , 08nl ,er ^ ftef, ip a,i 0Ianp ^ rcIalBlns . m ^ ,„ ? £?££ 

a^ed of holdmB |Cft] M ut t,on B m ^ a <eBtrjl prmUie> pv „ lhal ^ ,^ ()| ^ 
,,-^««ma& bvc^fon, in hiMorv , a ,heo . *», «**» an i^LnunaN, bo | BI „. 

Mmrdlin conclude from ,hi S that QM refutes CR (** 55). Further it diould be 
noted, quantum field Iheory and s.ring theory, which bom follow the rule,v of 
quotum m«han,«. preseni similar problems for CR. though they raw t^kc dilTeren, 

partKlc, 1 A physical .yflcfl, |, Sllnp u ,l« phyiical <*^c, o, Ejects, one i, trying ,0 rtodr _ 
<* Jbean, of Itghi gom E ,hfo„ g h a unall hole or a hydrogc atom in . magnnir ReUi i„ 
addii» n to .h<« tonml ral«. P W.«, hav t aU„ dewbped a *, of nmrinc rul« for 
a«ipiinj KUct to physical rjnmns. 

The standard fcmuilaUon conjes in ,wo varid.0, the 'uaw-vreur' fbrniuLuwn and the 
demity maim fomulalion. AH .he main concluuom drawn belov- apply 10 ho,h formL 
n«l». although I w!l typicilly p tCKI „ m y argumcnii in wjrmi of Ihe *Uie-v«tor fomiuUtioc. 
hikc Iftu , s Utc rnoi, communly u«d and ihe ca&fl to follow. 

Sct e.g. Ciidiiug (19«8; 2? ). Graeral irbtivir.- alto present* pmblenu for CR. » sireswd hv 
Roger Fcnroae (198a: izcwi), .hough I iannoi disniu thin here. 

Why Physicists Use CR 

Why then, do physicists fificn present their field as providing a CR picture nf 
physical reality, with talk of things bemp composed of partictrs with definite hr m 
Btin? Gnt rraion is the difficulty of communicating using, quantum concepts i 
thus the physics community falls back on classical language. Another is that to i pt 
eucnt the classic :jJ pjeture is very useful, especially if one jdds quantum correction 
to one's classical model. For instance, the Bohr model of the atom, in which the am 
is pictured u B rmy solar system with electron* whirling around the nucleus, is r*H 
consistent with any interpretation of QM (and thus is literally false), though it i ivm 
useful Similarly, physicists steeped in general relativity will still speak of the "ur jvi- 
rational force; even though in general retath ity the concept of gravnartonal farce is 
replaced by the concept of curvature of spacetime. 

A final, and perhaps most important, reason is thata quantum-mechanical model oi 

a system is typically developed by first developing a classical model of the ssstem, and 

thensybstituting quantum operators for the classical variables. This procedure i* called 

quimti/ation'. Classical models thus provide a useful rung for developing (he moft 

comet quantum theory, even in esoteric branches of physics such as string theory Thiu 

the> retain a key conceptual role in physics- Since the quantum operators inhabit m 

emirely afferent mathc™ i , :[Jf | wlwcen |nr 

mathemalicaJ in the quantum mode! are entirely different. Thus the classKal 

moid cannot hewKltobecw'cniipproumjtelv irueahoughit constitute an important 

step to the quantum mechanical model. We will briefly remm to this issue below. 

Chemical CR 

So, I have argued, CR is xnconsLstent with both the way in *h\th (he QM fomiabsm 
represents reality and all major interrelations of QM. Bui. could CR still be valid at a 
higher level, such as for chemistry? At least for chemical compositional reducnW,™ 
(CCR). in which atoms and mdccules are treated as the fundamental building blocks. 
the answer appears to be no. The problem with CCR is that atoms and molecules are 
also inhabitant of ihequantum world, even though for most practical applications they 
can he treated without appeal to quantum mttharucs. This means that anv non 
quantum theory of the behaviour of groups of these atoms and molecules will be 
seriously mcompku. and thus CCR wiD fci This can be most explicitly seen for such 
phenomena as superconductivit)', superfluity, and the operation of (lie laser, where QM 
plays a central explanatory role. Since there is no clear boundary between the dnkd 
and the quantum realms, any sort of CR is likejv to faiL 

The Measurement Problem and Reductionism 

Although quantum holism presents a fcial problem for CR. it still allows for a more 
general wn of physical reductionism which build* in some sort of holism, as we will 



see below when we look it David tkthm'i '«,, ■ * 

reducer,,*, WOU ,d diin, ,h.H .hethTv o Z7TT " f *J ** * *""' 

challenge to «« ,»« form of ^u-Lnw^Z' T^ '^ "* 6ttL 
mecW, i, formulated, the «uSSSJ22S^ ^ "' ^ V*"™ 
in whid, Iheptvskaliwcmcn* IvJ^Z ""—ita is. tl« state 

• .u • u , P Cf ^''"B measured— cannot be exnlir»«l ;.. 

terms of the microphys IC j causality Hiven he ih. s k . not ** e3t P'*«« "> 

Schrodinger eouaJn L the e^t.i , mTdci™ ^f^T ■•"■J* Ytl ' ,h < 

non-CR way. Pur in rfj KSCSKSS *??**"« ■» • 
the behaviour of the system b no ported in ,1, "^^^ ^" R ra<MU,ed ' 

simply ihcrod. rfaebXfo^rfZK^rfSS^ "'T f QM " 

process of Matc-vectojr reduction'— in order to <fo*\/*L 

0-. C peculiar corosquena of Ac nalu « of thh pombtcd mcisuio^t pnv^ 1 1 
due onr cannot Ia |* the quotum n.odck u.^d by phv^icu,^ iuch IsT^cScTo?* 
ata. » . nude,, with electron, s , lliing .J.S.'bJ^ ^ ^.^f. 

InT . U "^ drt ^ k *'« c^nmenu, L thee experi^^h 
2*^ to be measured (en^ position. ^ etc.) b cho.n a ^,^^1. 

that, pven Aal on, .ate one's rnodrb l.ter.Kv, Ute propcrtiesone I, forced ^ascrib^ 

meS fr WHr Pr ^ m ?T ^ Ih0>ry M °^ d0 ° «««*-■*» «« even d« to 
..m^ll^ ? T ^ ° f rali,y '* «Mi«W by our chok* of ^fta, ol«rv»h!e 

The simplest resolution 10 the measurement problem is to deny that quantum 
theory provides an a «oun. of underlying reality at ,||. hut irmcad d«m thai i, {. 
merely a useful calcukungdmc,. This is a common vie* among pfc^dmk and .he 
S ort of mew .ha. J ayH « imp ],ci,Jy cri.rciz« in .he above quoutton when he says th.,. 

»lf ^ **! '" <:M ' b,e ° Wnfi ™' of ,he * «l*" I »"«s ht Creenwrin and Zajooc ^ 

quanium theory due not even mention a 'real physical dtuacion'. Thiv view af 
COtifw, impliCilh denies aliv ri'ducllonjftt interpretation nf CJLM 

Another resolution is to uct an ifffleipnafllliiffi of quantum mechanic* th.* 

ai tempi* ro circumvent or solve the measurement problem Such interpretations cm 
cither he reduction i$tk or non-reduciioniMit- Because of the sort of problems 
fllutf rated by the delayed -choice experiments, reductions lie interpretations do nor 
G ihe model* used by physicists- literally, but instead offer an .ihernative (non-Cfti 
model of underlying reality that purportedly reproduces the statistical prediction* a( 
quantum mechanic* AJIsuch interpret alum-, run into significant problems, hnwoir 
which is the rca>ort why none of them b vriddy aceeplcd. But cwn if a viable 
reductionist interpretation could be found, it would still he the case the aciuil 
success of the heuristic models and the standard formulation of QM used tw 
physicists offers no support far rcductiomsm. since these models cannot be taken 
directly corresponding to realty. Kather. ail it would show is that some form of 
noD'CR reductronism h compatible with the empirical prediction* of quantum 
rnechanivv These reductionist interpretations, therefore, appear lo be driven more 
by an a priori philosophical commitment to reduciionism than by actual scientific 
practice, I will now illustrate the above points by looking at David Bohm's hidden 
variable imerprctarion of QM. .t aon-CR reductionist interpretation thai h one of 
those most widely discussed among philosophers. 

Bohm's Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics 

David Bohnis well-known hidden variable theory/interpretation of non-rcbm 

QM is ihe interpretation ihat in many ways stays closest to the CR picture or reality. 

although. Fikeall viaWe interpretations, it must deny CR* In BohnVs interpretation, 

every panicle has a definite position and velocity, which is not bow the standard 

formulation of QM represents reality.* Further, macroscopic objects— that is. objects 

much much larger than an atom— arc considered to be composed of Urge aggregate 

of Ihese particles. To obtain the predictions of quantum mechanics, Bohm must 

hypothesis that these part ides arc guided by what he calls the >ifoi wave? oi 

quantum potential", which takes a certain specified mathematical form. The quan- 

Turn potential can be imaginatively thought of as a giant octopus, with tentacles 

around each particle in the universe, guiding it in such a way that the predictions of 

QM are duplicated. To account for the observable consequences of quantum holism. 

1 for an accessible and sympathetic presentation and discussion of this theory, *c AJhcrt 
1992: eh. 7, See alio Bohm h&k 70-110. 

Specifically, the ^ndard formulation represents particles as being in superp(*ed state* at 
position .energy, and the Be. A single particle, e.^. u typically represented a. bemj: k 
multiple location, at once tic. a tuperp^iunn oi position «to), with each Jocaiion being 
*w«ncd a terrain weight gjv*„ by 9 complex number-ie 1 nuTn i»cr mm a real ami an 

imaginary compuneni. 

«-* m 

theqiianiumpoteniial mustbenon loral m^- i_ - 

field <pr«d LWgW .po^hJT ZZ ,h r""T ,,CUl0,JBhlO ^ J 

written - - field LtobS, the V diZllT 7" P ^ ' m,Md ' " " 

to un IK rv, „ ™uld inhabit « iLt f^l , ^ '* ^"^ '" 

quantum potential, Boh,n mast hrwihlL. 1 ITT'' ***" BBid «* ,lw 
banning of -he Averse (or ^ ^IZT^T^ * **** " ,hr 

due, ,he MM pactions of 4lI ™ U U J S2,™ d0m " J " B P,0fCHJ * "I- 

Each oi the* postulate* presents *riou< difficulties In r<JT . <w 
ample. I argue that ,hb postul« e ,,f , SDC cia , " , 'v u , " W61 ' ft " ** 

-a- «« .o «& Bo hm , L^ : ,rt ; h :tih n -"t/^r 

«pta,ed by fields, w, h mac ro S£ opic .,i>avu he ln& manifaSrf^ fid* Tic 

porrn.,,1, nd hence the a» e conflict wilh CR * « ^ Bohn,", L ol „f the 
•«o ma,or (re .mcrpretn.,^ of QM to, attempt to retain » efadal p „ ur , JJ ,„ 
P-*d«**i fcW».» kAMUs the minimum dement, of to cfa»JcR pltl o 
reaJtty tot quantum hohsm force one to giw up 
II should be jwafc taww. ,hat. u with vinaaiiy ^ olh „ , m a(ion5 

Bohm, m.erpr«,„„n d« & not take to ,Undard formul. lt ,„n of QM and to- «odS 

toor}. „, the sundard fonnuiat.on, pattidc, do not have define podrions ami 

hoinrtK models used bf soendsto have been both theoretically and exrxnmenully 
rrmtful M thc l,,e phy.iriMyphiloH.phcr femes Dishing note, Mr, retm. hi,*. 
"|«gy one «« how a toorms imuition, arc often led bv the mathcm.tic* 
of a formahsm rator than by to phyrio « m a pnrioos era" <l9 88: 34). Thus, the 
formalism ii^lf is largely what has fruitful content, a peine thai h» been exterw,, , 
" K ucd for by Mark StCtor < W ,8). Although physicisLs coiutruci m.^clsof under- 
Jyng ceahty. taking such nwdds lileraJJy has not prowd fruitful Neither has 

The other it the so-called *ponuneou» collapw theory. See e.j. Monton (ioo 4 i 

constructing any sort of rrductinniM model, such as BohmV father, it ii the form 1 
Em along with merely heuristic models thai have proved fruitful. This is otic retwi 
why, unlike rOiilowiplirr*. most physicist* have nol been attracted to Bohm's ihon 

or Other reductionist accounts. As lolin PoEkinghorne has remarked, for phvsicL t 
their is an air of contrivance about it [Bohm's theory | thai makes il unappealing Ii 

pnysristt]' (loor 55). 

After Reductionism: A New View 

of Science 

QM. therefore, gives us almost definitive reasons to reject CR, and poses serious 
problems for even non-CR forms of mierophysieal reductionism. If reductionism it 
false, how do we understand ihe nature of physical reality? Reductionism a! leisi 
offers a unified, simple view of physical reality. 

At Ihc end of his introductory book on quantum theory John Polkinghorae 
suggests that 'ii is intelligibility ( .rather than objectivity), thai is the clue to reality' 
(2002: 86}. I agree. In Iigbt of the problems raised by QM for both CR and non-CR 
forms of reductionism, I propose a new view of reality that I call 'non-reductive 
intelligibility' (NRI). This view in turn suggests another view, which J will call 
•theistic non-reductive intelligibility - (TNRI), since, I will argue, the son of intelli- 
gibility that we find in the universe suggests theism. At Ihc same lime theism allows 
us to deepen and fill out the conception of NRI." Nonetheless, one could consistently 
hold NRI without taking. Ihe step lo TNRI 

To say flat nature is intelligible means, among other things, that nature is swh 

that human beings can midHstud it. One kind of intelligibility is that olTcinl hvthe 

reductioniit For the reductionist (whether CR or some other variety), nature is 

intelligible because we can construct a single modd which, to « least a significant 

degree of approximation, directly corresponds lo the underlying physical realiiv, 

from which in principle we could explain ihe behaviour of aH material objects. To 

claim that the intelligibility is non-reductive, in contrast, means lhal there is no such 

single model Ruber, it suggests a view of the sciences promoied by, among olhers. 

philosopher of science Mm Duprc (mi) for reasons that are independent of QM. In 

Dupre's view, each area d science has a certain amount of independence from other 

dotnarns. A cursory glance at the various sciences reveals a wide range of different 

domains of mquiiy. each with its own explanatory concept* and principles: physic, 

By iheism. I mean the claim lhal an intelligence created the universe and hence tram- 
il to some degree. Tr.d,:,.,^. or dusfaJ theism, both ta che West and ihe Bui 
(e-g, mapr Hindu forms of ihebm) typically add that thl, intelligence i, all good, omnipolrn.. 
omniscient, and the like. 

• n 1 1.UMIPHV OF S( II! Sirj JM 

chemistry, biology, psychology.. socjoloev and! ih«, „»u 

plines that also have sepanue concept „d J? "**"* ** h **"«• *' 

domains, with Ihe nature cfSw^^Z™ ,n "*» "»>* **»• «hcr 

As D UP re note,, .hi, suggests tha.Thl ^ ' OBeJ **«« »»*■ 

■deal, not only concern what «* should ~^ IT , " ' "* ^* ,h The * 
ihc ideals of natural order centred TZl ["^""f 13 ^^-^^^. 

bits of nvatter (atomism). On the other hand 11^^ (T^^' 11 
talc of contemporary ^hS^^^^^^T^T^ 
tion-are different from the Kh™ r^TZ , *"? ' "?"** naturaI ' rf «" 

NRI and Other Alternatives to Reductionism 

To help better understand NRI, j, H Uienll M ^^ ^ fiu 

S 3 * * rCdUCt r ^ ^ * — *" «■*■* »* Alfred ^hUt 
head s process me^phys.cs. It agrees with them in its »re« „ the nch imcrcon 
n«ed nature of physical reality and its mtelligibiliry. , a contra* ,c .S hZZ 

-h tal U.gib.hty. father, „ allows each science to provide its own window into S ,, 

HI r A ******* «*"» to * **• *•» - ** ontly "b 
ustrate. coru.der some specific areas of contrast between the approach of N^and 

WifS rf "S"™* COmP,eXJtV °- ° f,he ^ ■»— of emergen, com 
P e*,y « that the world appears .0 be hierarchically »,ruaurect more complex units 

are formed 0* of more S im P «e parts, and thcy in turn become .he >r.s' ouTof 

abt ZZZ C °7m/,t" "* ( ° mtd ' raayt " n *** fo) * articulated 
above the WUsm of QM (along with the measurement problem) seriously calk 

ZTT" , ^V^ ,hi " Wh0,W haW ««^»«l P*W ^ which they are 
composed, at leaM at the level of microphysics or chemistry 

As mentioned abo W . according .0 NRI. each science provides a window into the 

.tder of a certain aspeel of nature, where .he way in which the order uncovered bv 

each scenes relates to the other sciences is determined on t case-byeme basis. NRI 

JJSZ£2f?5l??£ {30tH ' ' i9 - iik ***"» *°r W" 1 ^- ™*°™ « mnPkT 
approach to NR|. Libelling it XrttfciS Realism'. 

does no! postulate any overarching metaphysical ontology— such as the hierarchi 

of ertwifgenee— that tell* us bow oik science retain to another. The window to in f lun 

vrrrimed by the muitifacetcd and complex history of modeU, heuristics, iHcorits. 

and experimental practices chAOCtenslic of the science In question. The domain* of 

the sciences hertwcvcf, arearranged in a non ontologtca) hiemnJty ofgatetnliry, with 

phvsks being the most gaieral, then chemistry, then biology, ancj the like. Because 

ihe postulated entities and processes in a less general domain fall under mr»re eentiaj 

dammm, this means that the laws and principles of a more general domain can often 

provide a partiaF explanation for the Uws and pnncsptes of a less general domain— 

cg. physics provides a parluJ explanation of chemical l.m-. and chemistry of 

biological laws, but not vice versa. We must keep m mind, however, That these 

explanation* are reJatise to the models of each .science, with the models of each: 

science providing mvight into reality without necessarily directly representing rcaJiiv 

a* discussed more below, From the perspective of NRI. the problem with emergent 

complexity is that it mistakes a hierarchy or generality tor an ontological hierarchy. 

Further, the form of SRI thai I advocate disagrees with emergent complexity in itj 

daimtrutnc^properiie*CTllc^ least if complexity 

rs understood as a purely ob>eetrve feature of the world that can he specified 

independently of human interests. One problem is that from the perspective of the 

field thrones of current fundamental physics, a non-denumcrably infante amount of 

inronnation is raraired to specify any configuration of maltcr. no matter how small. 

since the values of the various physical fields would have to be specified at a non- 

denumcrabty infinite number of spatial (or spatio-temporal J points. Thus, from an 

informal ion theoretic perspective, a field is infinitely complex Even though all 

systems in therefore infinitely complex, we consider some systems more complex 

than others because in the highly complex systems .only a very small proportion o( 

possible arrangement Of parts results in a property or function that we can easily 

recognize Or find of interest, such as the arrangement of parts in a radio or a living 

cdl. The degree of complexity, therefore. docs not seem to be a compLctriy objective 

feature of the world, contrary to what emergent complexity presupposes. 

Scientific Realism and NRI 

Now QM implies that the intelligibility that nature exhibits does not require that the 
constructs in our models directly correspond, even approximately, to physical reality 
Many have responded! to this fact by adopting some form of instrumcntalism. in 
which the formalism of QM and its heuristic models arc seen as merely useful 
calculation*] device*, without offering any significant insight into the nature of 
reality. In philosophy of science, one leading objection to instrumentalist!! is the 
so-called 'no- miracles argument'. According to this argument, if the entities postu- 
lated by microphyscs do not ndty oris! (or if the formalism of mieraphyrici doc* 
not correspond even approximately to underlying reality), then it is a 'miracle* that 
physics has been so succevJul. in terms of both novel prediction* and guiding the 

rniLClfOPlir OP SCIENCE i 

aevelopOKfll of technology. Although there is something right about this argument 
^^1 imirumentalmn, it docs not support realism in the typical sense of our 
models corresponding approximately to reality, since the formalism and heuritKfc 
roadcis used by physicists are very successful; yet they cannot be taken to cones 
pond directly to reality, as argued above— e.g. when we considered the cast of 
delajtd-choice experiments* 

Nonetheless, one can still contend that our modeh offer fundamental insights, into 
ihe nature of reality over and above simply being useful instrument* of prediction, 
Uch area of science, with its own rich history of instrumentation, heurisik con- 
structs, metaphors, and theories, can be thought of as providing a window into the 
order of one aspect of the physical world. The sort of realism that stresses insight 
(and metaphor), instead of some sort of semamically precise correspondence, a the 
land of realism that many leading defenders of scientific realism, such as Eman 
McMulhn, claim is more true to the actual practice of science (39*14; 30-6. esp. j6>. 
This form of realism helps to reinstate the truth -indicating value of noo-litcral 
language [inch as metaphor and symbol), which appears to be essential to much 
reh'pous discourse, hut with the rise of science and its accompanying reductionism 
has often been considered to have at best a secondary status as far as revealing the 
true nature of the world. Accordingly, many religious hdievers should find this sort 
of realism congenial, since they must adopt this form of realism in the realm of 
religion insofar as they believe thai religious discourse is revelatory of reality while at 
ihe same time to .1 Liege ■extent non -literal. 

Theistic Non-Reductive Intelligibility 

This form of realign, however, still docs not offer an overall explanation of significant 
facets of the success of scientific methodology, and Urn* does not adequately satisfy 
the intuitions underlying the no-miracles argument. A key intuition here is thai the 
success of the scientific enterprise is something (hat calls for explanation. An 
important ingredient in the success of science is the 'user-fiicndliiiesA' of the struc- 
ture of the universe for gaining insight into that structure, something I call its 
"discoverabtSity'. Realism atone, even of the non-literal variety, does not account for 
this. As I explain below, discoverability takes multiple forms; the degree ot success of 
recognizably false heuristic constructs, of physicists intuitions, of purely formal 
mathematical manipulations in developing new theories (as e.g. famously noted by 
Eugene Wigner (i960)) 1 , and of the criterion of mathematical bcauiv jnd elegance in 
forming fundamental physical theories. As Mark Stcincr concludes in tits book un the 
topic, the universe appears to be* more 'user-friendly' than one would expect under 
metaphysical naturalism (1998: 176). Theism naturally accounts for each of these 
wiy$ in which scientific methodology is successful: it makes sense under a theistic 
perspective for God to have a providential purpose for human beings of coming to 
partially understand the natural world and develop technology, thus accounting for 
future's discoverability; and given thai, is theists have typically held* God has a 

perfect (or a? least a significant! aesthetic sense, one would expect creano 
manifest beauty aitd elegance jc a fundamental IcveL 10 This means that a ( |, ^ 
version of N'RJ (TNR11 helps salary the strong m tuitions of those who MBKrjheifc 
Use no-mindes argument in a way thai realism, as typically construed, cannot ajid 
thus should be a natural step for many of those with realist inclinations, 

Wh ji tot Mime cxaroplcsof this discoverability: One example mentioned obovr I 
meheaut>;mdelegarKeoimcUwsofnaw^ , I( ., !j|c 

development oC phyoci— going alt the Way back to Newlon-sismany physicm* have 
commemed on. Nobel Prize-winning, physicist Steven Weinberg, for instance d 
wte* a whole chapter of his book Dm* FSndl JTirurj- to explaining how the 

icria of beauts- .and degance axe commonly used with {treat success to m*A 
physicists in formulating laws. For example, as Weinberg points out, ' 
structures that confessedly are developed by mathematicians because they seek a son 
. ivauty ire often found later w be extraordinarily valuable by the physicist' (m^ 
is.O. later. Weinberg comments that 'Physicists generally find the ability OT math- 
ematicians lu epate Ihe mathematics needed in the theories of physics an^ 
uncamn (1^2. 1 

Another example is the quantization procedure discussed above, which is 
ognincanih discussed by Stcincr (1098: 96-7. 136-7$). As mentioned above, (he 
quantization procedure involves constructing false classical models for a physical 
system, and then substituting quantum operators t'or the classical variables. 
the mathematical relations between quantum operators are entirely different from 
those between dtlttClfl variables. Ihe classical model* cannot be thought of as even 
approximately correct. That this procedure works at all seems like a "miracle'. As 
Roger Penrose notes, "This procedure looks like hocus-pocus! But. it b not just 
mathematical conjuring! It i* genuine magic which works* (1989: iSS). Many similar 
examples are discussed by Steiner C199S). 

The idea of discoverability also provides a rheisrk expiation for why CR and its 
accompanying mechanistic TieW of the universe have been so successful, even though 
the inherent holism and non-locality of QM imply that the)* are itftfcTRatdy false. In 
order ro create 4 world whose underlying order is discover? able, God would haw 10 
create a world that is approximately separable, and hence in which CR would be very 
successful The reason is that the ability to break a system into parts that can be 
separated from the rest of the environment to a high degree of accuracy allows us to 
study the properties of a system in idealized conditions, without having to consider 
the cttlrcmcry messy and unknown influences of the environment or other atranr * 
ou* factors. This allows for controlled experiments*. A thcistic explanation of the 
1 nerabilny of the universe, of course, assumes that <Jod would have good reason 
far wanting human beings to discover the underlying structure of the universe. 

* In saving that God hat 1 perfect aesthetic sense. Jam not ^tempting to enuoraajir sort 
of theodicy, such as a Leibnttian theodicy in which tic exist race of suffering— such j^.v*. 
in the evolutionary pwcss—Conlnbute* to the oterall aesthetic perfecrion of the world. 

PHlLOMipiiy f SCftN 



TNRI's Implications for Scieniific Methodology 
and Epistemology 

The son of mtciligibihty Hut QM and the idea of discovenbdity suggest, however 
I ,ly lends support to theism, but die belief that God created the universe can 
positively contribute to our understanding and elaboration of this sort of intclbgi- 
bflity. in analog to theisms much discussed historical role in the rise ofscienct One 
^tv it could do this is by strengthening the case for the ideal of beauty, defiance, and 
discoverability as a replacement for mere simplicity as an ideal of natural order, 
scmiething already suggested by physicist*' extensive use of the criteria of beauty and 
elegance. From a thcistic perspective. God would have a reason to create a universe 
that exhibited elegant and beautiful fundamental structures, as argued above. Sim 
pucity. however does not seem to havcany intrinsic value, at kasl not for an infinite, 
omniscient being. But simplicity does have value insofar as it is part of discover 
ability, elegance, am! beauty. The simplicity of the equations of physics at each stage 
of the development of physics— such as Newton's equation of gravity and Einstein, 
conation of general relativity— have enormously contributed to human beings hav- 
ing discovered ihcm. Further, simplicity is an essential pan of the classical concep 
rjon of beauty and elegance. Simplicity with variety was the defining fc*t UIC of the 
classical conception of beauty or elegance as articulated by William Hogarth tn his 
««k- Tlw Analysis of rVfl H f>; where he famously used a line drawn around a 
cone to illustrate this notion According to Hogarth, simplicity apart from variety, 
such as a straight line, is boring, not elegant or beautiful Thus, I suggest, K is because 
simplicity often contributes to the beauty and discoverability of nature that it has 
tniflatenry been taken to be the premier virtue of a theory. 

Theism suggests not only that beauty CinsteaiS of mere simplicity) is the appro- 
priate criterion 10 apply, but also that in many domains nature will exhibit more than 
the sparse sort of beauty lakin to Greek architecture) that Weinberg and others claim 
ischaracterisne of the raathemaEical structures of fundamental physics f Weinberg 
\$$z. 149). Under a conception uf God is infinitely creative and having a perfect and 
deep aesthetic sense, for example, it would make sense for the fabric of creation to be 
richly interconnected and interwoven, in clever, deep, subtle, and elegant ways, 
expressive of many different types of beauty from the sparse classical sort to the 
more 'post-modern' with its wild extravagance, as characterisuc of the evolution of 
life on the Earth 

Among other things, such a rich view of nature holds out the hope of providing 
the needed room and subtlety in nature for grounding a truly sacramental view of 
nature, along with more adequate accounts of divine action and non -reductive 
accounts of the mind-body relationship. To illustrate, several philosophers have 
argued that non-reductive accounts of the menial would involve an enormous 
complexity of laws linking mental states (such as sensations and experience) with 
the hrain. The leading materialist philosopher |. J. C Smart has taken this n a 
powerful argument for reetuctionism (197a 54h whereas philosopher Robert Adams 

I lis as ■ strong reason to Id God. instead of science, to account fo 
ihe telarioo of the mind tn the body. If elegance nnd Seamy .»rc taken n fundamental 
ideal- i.l order in place Of mete simplicity, both arguments are mitgutdeet 
nocr they a&urrte that Teplbnite scientific explanations must be aimplc Rather, wr 
would expect some domain* of nature 10 express those sons of beau I y thai involve t degree of complexity a! the fimdainettla] level. Similar things, could be H id 
concerning speculation ADOUl ' wfront fcsue* iu<h as biocenlrrc laws, higher-level 
pj items of ideotefty in evolution, such as expTored fey Teflhard dc Qurdin (19551 
Simon Conway Morris (2004), and the like. More generally, science shouU Focus on 
1 i . nitclligihfc (and in manv cfegfliH) patterns In natirnr. instead of the 

ideal being explaining reahiv in terms of the causal power* of a few bask con- 
ents, though certainly this latter form of explanation is of value in some domain* 

One might also expect nature 10 reflect other attributes of God God* eternity and 

mrmtty, and God's mysffnousnessL Accordingly, theisfs should not be surprised thai 

the univrrse is very old and vast, and perhaps even infinitely Urge, as ionic cosmo- 

topst* speculate-. This is why. aM f haw emphasized elsewhere, thcists should not be 

apposed to new cosmic speculation. particuforTy that arising out of inflationary 

cosmology, in which our universe is one of an mcredibly large if not infinite number 

of universes generated by some physical process- 11 Although a finite, single universe 

certainly compatible with God's infinite creativity, m infinitely large universe andi 

or muhfvene arguably makes even more sense from a thcistic perspective. The same 

goes for the depth of nature: in his more philosophic-il work, for instance, physicist 

David Bohm has hinted -it the ide.i that nature should be thought of as like jn onion. 

with perhaps an infinite number o( layers of more and more subtle orders of 

operation C««*to: 193) >' should also be mentioned that the IremendouA advance of 

science in this last century has uncovered a deep rational Structure, a* exemplified by 

QM, Yet. at the same time, it has increased our sense of mystery, by not allowing us to 

fit reality into any neat conceptual scheme, testified to by the puzzles and paradoses 

arising out of QM. This also fits well with theistk religious sensibilities, which hold in 

tens-ion our ability to rationally comprehend reality (since God is the ultimate creator 

of our nunds) and ihe deep mysjcriousness of reality. « Thus, I btfcve»TKftl has 

great potential for providing a metaphysically, religiously, and scientifically fruitful 

framework for thinking about physical reality. 

Jl Sec Coffins rfonhaimrnc), 

,: Ahhough probably obvwiu from the foregoing discussion, it should be strewed thai. 
•Aatever the KterfU oc lack (hereof, uf ihe imclhgeni design niervemem <whkh lias named 
significant attention in ihe L'nued Maxes;, TORI should ne* be confused wiih El L'aJLke 
adrticato of intelligent design, I am no! proposing to substitute design explanations for 
purdy naturalistic eipUn*tioft» of phyncal phenomena, but only claiming that thennt cao 
have a signiri^u! influence an what we take to be the ideals of natural order. especuBy ib 
forefront areas such as vitntifk iiudiei of tonscKiuuicss. 

PMILOSOfrHY of science MJ 

References and Suggested Reading 

RflMK C «f*i. '"««»•«""• **■ <W: El The Virtue «f Faith ond Other Bmm fo 
Phibsophicai Theology, Oxford: Oaford University Press. us -*■: 
aj^rr David (l»a>- Qmmtm Mechanic* and £i^mener. Cambridge. Mass Harvard 

Uhritrtrty Preu, 
floMM. DAVID <i««Oi. Whotenm and Implicate Order. London: R „ ul Wg< A r^ PauL 
Clayton. PhMJ? (*m). Simd and Emerjenee: From Quorum to Conseiousnc,, Oxford 

Oiford Univrniiv Press. 

CcuiKJ. ROWM (1996) "An Ppmernolopcil i rinque ofRnhmun Mechanic*', fa | Cwhmg. 

A. Fine, and S. Goldceih (ediv>. Boiimian Mechanics and Quantum Theory. An Approval 

Dardrechf: Kluwer Aca ionic Publishers, ch. iH. 
- (forthcoming) A Theutie Perape*tivr w* the Mukivmc Hj T oihesi*; in Bernard Qm 

(ed.J. Voivtrse at .MmW. Gun-bridge: CamhridRe L'nrttnny Press. iRriaied article 

found Hi <www.fine-tuftnig.arg> or <www.Re.bincoairtt(«rp>.J 
Gokwat Motais, Simom £i«»4K Ufe's SaTimc fnev^bit Hu, wn * in a Lonely l/nnm 

Cunbridse: Cambridge Unoxriity Press. 

CKncHLCV. Simon (2001). Continental Philosophy? A Very Short Imrxfthaun. Onord: Oxford 

Urdverncy P«e«. 
0;smix<;. Jam. .< T. (1991). ToundalKnal Problenu in Quanium Fidd Theory', in II. Brown 

and R. Harre (ed*.). WfaH^Aimf hvumtafiom of Quantum fitfd Theory, Odord: Oaroidon 

Press. 2S-js>. 
Durti, John Um>. Tfrr Dtwtder of Thing? Metaphysical tvvmtutumt of the Viimity iff 

Science, Cambridge, Mass.; Harvard Cniveruiy Press. 
Cbhkstitw. Giokcb, and £monc. Abthl-b (1997), Jht Quantum Chatlengr. Modern 

Research err ihe Ftmtutotmrt of Quantum Methaaki. Boston: tones and Bartlett Puhashen 
Hooaktii. Wuixsm i[im\ 1997), TTre Analysis of Beauty, ed- intra and nmes by Ronald 

Pautsoa New Haven. Connj: published for the Paul Mellon Center for Briii*h An by Yale 

University Press. 

HfCcrrr,Nicx,and WuhGA»n, ; n dy^l. InterpreUtions of Quantum Field tneory'. 
Philosophy of Science, 611 375-0, 

|a,ms, E T U9*o). 'Quantum Beau; m A. O. Barut Ced.). fattntUttoni of Radiation Vteory 

una' Quantum IhxtrodyiMHucs. New Vorfc Wenum Press, 37-43. 
MASCAU. E L. tlMM. Otmhttn Theology (nut Natural Sciencr. Same Qmtions on Mr 

Retatmv. Londtia Longman's, Creen and Co. 
Mal-duk, Timothy 11998). 'Pan and Whole in Quataturn Mcchanka'. in a CaUeilani<c<J .>. 

tnlepreiing Bodies Gasskal and Quantum Objection* in Modern Pfcyiwv Princeton: 

Princeton Univernty Press, 4G-50. 
McOrath, Auittr f a-ooaa). The Science of God: to Introduction to Scientific Thwlagy. -Grand 

Rapids Mich,; Ecrdmans. 
(lOCUb). The Twifykt of Atheism: The Rise ami Fall of DaMrf in tfw Modern World. 

New York Doublcdoy. 
McMu&ux, E«nan <i954>. 'The Case Jbr SocntUk Realiun in I leplin led), Scientific 

Reafvrn, Los Angcks: UtliVcrsilv oft jliloinu Press, $-40. 
Montov, (ami). 'The Problem of OnioJojy for Spontaneous CcJIapse Theontt'. 

Rtudta in tlu History and PhHosaphy of Modem PoysrCA 3*/^ 497-St 
Pe-SaoiB, Roiiir (10*9). 7*e Emperor'$ N*v \titui: Concfrning Cetnputet* Mmdk and the 

Uwt o/Pn^Kt New York Oafbid University Prew. 

rVuxnwno>M> Immn Quauum Thtwy. A \ty Short Introduction. OdorA . «_*. 

SHArr, i J. C (1970'r. Senmiom and Brain Ptocbb&\ in C V. Bam <cd. 

V i;jn Jhwrj-, l..»DCk>n: MKmittait Prc», **-». 

^Mw*kfti* B 

Cambridge. Mask. lUrvatd l'm»er*:ty Pros. ^ nr1, 

Tf iih arp m Chavdin. P. (1955*. 7?"* Ptienpinetta of Man, London: Collins. 
ToLruciN..Stsj>Hrr. :; ft^j;fa ajd P^ewa rjif^ 

Hloonungton, IntL Indiana L'nivmity Pns*. 
A t FMUH, Stivi.v ltp*a). Dreamt af a Fi na! Thctry. New- Yorfc Vintage BooLs, 
Wir.M». Eoam 0ono> The UnrrawpMc EffttTivencta of Mjihematics in iht pw« I 

Science*" Gwt7Mi/raVjlintt» on Pw*r 111J AppHrtt Mruhatrasicf, iy 1-14. 








Obi generation and the two that pieCeded il haw heard jhno* nothing 
but uUc ofthe eonffitf hri«xn faith and mmikc, u» the point who*. « cmr 
moment, it decidedly teemed as though teience wa> tailed on to replace 
frith. Now the longer the tension between them continue*, the mote 
obvious it b thit the conflict ttto be rewh-ed by some entirely differ MH 
fcnn of equilibrium— not by elimination cirdiuhun, Nut vraihoix After 
almou two centuries of nusioruie slrugRle, neither kIckc nor fciiih has 
managed lo diminish the orher, c|uite the contrary, il becomes dew that 
they CuDDi tlcvelop normally without ca^h other. iTeiJrutd de t.hardm 

WfcOe Pierre Tcilhard dc Chardin may have been overly optinmcic here in hu 
estimate of how soon the .xymhc*i* of rdigion and science mighi take pb«. his 
d«p faith in the achicvability of the project remaias an important motivational 
'actor in the conu-mpoRiiy religion asliE «:irnccdiscimii»a In rhh chapter, t will first 


(U»lirn n. mnnx.m,*.*'* -■< 

™»»™«"' *' "»"'mm am, .|»TAfK««a 


rtv briefly how the conflict of interests between proponcnta f re*ig wn arid 
science in the modem era arose historically Secondly. I will indicate how vancus 
contemporary writers m t\\c uM of religion and science have tried to ease this 
KWfcm Finally, J wilt offer my own vision for the reconciliation of religion and 
science, based largely upon the philo&ophv of Alfred North Whitehead, but TTrjttfih 
revised so ax to affirm kci 'Christian beiierV 

How the Tension Arose 

As Ian Barbour makes dear in the opening chapter of Religion and Science there was 
a synthesis between religion ind science in the medieval period of Western Europe 
{Barbour 109* 4-4)- The philosophy of Aristotle provided the conceptual common 
ground for laeoSopiins and philosophers of nature .11 thai time. Aristotle was 
interested in the explanation of physical reality in terms of intelligible farms or 
essences and thetr purpose Within an overall world -view (Barbour 1997: 5). Hence, and formal causality look precedence over efficient and matcriat causality in hi* 
metaphysics. This coincided nicely with the reflections of theologians like Thomas 
Aquinas on the God-world relationship and the efforts of philosopher of nature lo 
determine the workings of divine providence in the world of creation. Thus, despite 
ecclesiastical condemnations of radical Arislotclianism in 1270 and 1277, the latter* 
philosophy over rime became accepted in lace medieval Europe as the aoctmrf 
philowphkaj basis for the articulation of a comprehensive Christian world- vicu 
embracing both religion and science (Undberg 2002; 65-71)* 

By the sixteenth century, however, Chis synthesis of philosophy science, and religion 
was increasingly Questioned at least in scientific circles. Besides Galileo, Descartes and 
Newton figured prominently in a new mathematically based approach to the world of 
Nature. All three were staunch believers in the existence of God, but each conceived God 
pnnapally as the unipersonal God of nature! theology rather than as the ^personal 
God of Christian revelation- In his ewertsi ve theological writing, Newton was in fact a 
fierce opponent oftraditiorulChriffianbcbef in the divinity of lesus and ihedoctrinf of 
the Trinity (West&ll 20021 156-7). Thus all three indirectly paved the way for the 
emergence first of deism and ultimately of atheism in academic circles. 

Pexhap* the easiest way to trace the movement from theism to deism lo atheism is lo 
review the life history of a celebrated French pitiioscphe Denis Diderot. In his early years 
he was a student at the lesuil College in Langrcs, France, and even considered the 
possib'tliry of becoming a Jesuit. But. after studies at 1 he University of Paris, he converted 
from theism to deism: namely, to belief in a Creator God who never interferes in else 
operation 0/ the kws of Nature, once having instituted ihem But Later he became a 
milium atheist when it occurred 10 him that matter U capable or' w!f feneration: 
"Matter is no longer the inert- geomeirk eflefwiori of Descartes, nor the Newtonian 

ml ^ identified with inertia and known through its resistance to change. NW matter ti 


ten* a rot needed as an explanaiion for the way thing* arc in this wortd 

There was, of course, intense opposition within educated circles m France and 
rlnewherc to the outspoken atheism of Diderot and other phUmophv But the |ong- 
cc rm eflret of their attack on Christianity was to convince scientists that 
gjon and science should be kept separate, vine* neither one can contribute sip 
nificantry to the growth of knowledge in the other discipline. Pierre LipUcc, for 
ciarnple, the leading Newtonian scientist in post- Rev, ,r .nary France. Corrected the 
,rreguJarili^ in the celestial mechanics of Newton without reference to God. and 
devi* nebular' hypothesTi for the origin of the solar system I Numbers 2002: ^39). 
Clearlv, this was contrary to the account of creation in the Book of Genesis. But. 
as Mkhacl Pucklcy comments, Uplaee was thereby no more of an atbeist titan 
Eteeartes, who likewise insisted that the world of Nature is governed by strictly 
nicebanieal principles (Buckley 1987: 535). Where he differed from Dcscanes and 
Newton was in his assumption thai theology has nothing lo do with physics. That 
same assumption appears to be operative in the mind* of many scientists Und 
theologians) even to this day. 

Searching for the Causal Joint 

In the last few decades of the twentieth Century and in the first decade of the twenty- 
first century, however, ihere has been a tremendous growth of scholarly interest in 
icthinking the relationirup between religion and science. One of the pioneers ia this 
endeavour was certainly Ian Barbour, with his Gifford Lectures in Scotland in 1989. 
initially published as J?f%on in on Age of Science [1990) and then reissued in 
expanded form as AVnjpon and Science Hittorkal and Contemporary Issues {1997). 
In both texti he sets forth four model* for the interrelation of religion and science 
that have been, and continue to be* operative in the minds of individuals active inthe 
6e!^ 1 ia. independence, dialogue* and integration. The model of conflict he 
dismisses as the work of fundamentalists on both sides, individuals unwilling to 
admit the inevitable limitations of their own discipline. Trie independence model h 
tar more widespread and influential at the present time, but only because both 
scientists and theologians are retuctant to give time and energy Lo boundary issues 
where an alleged conflict of interest between religion and science needs to be 
resolved. As the growing number of publications and conferences on science and 
religion makes clear, the model of dialogue between proponents uf religion and 
science is highly regarded jI the present time. But Barbour himself seems to favour 
the fourth model, thai of the integration of religion and science within a new 
overarching world-view, What he has in mind here is the philosophy of Alfred 

rib Whitehead, although wiih some reacrvations. He if critical, f or example f 
Whitehead* undemanding of The human wit' a* dimply a »eries of rnonimts °f 
experience rapidly succeeding one another, and of the seeming inability .,r p 
- bowers to explain the diversity of difFcmir level* of existence and activity mAI 
the cmmK piocrss I Harbour i^g?: 190; 2001; 97-4), Bui at the vime rime he bdinw, 
(hat Whitehead offer* she mosl promising philowphrcal concrptihility f or t | 1c :„. 
pration of re l 1 n jnd science to date. 

Giwn the aforementioned number of recent books and articles or religion jirjd 
science. I wall limit myself to a single key issue in the present discussion. 4rhi rii c 
representative thinkers for the various positions that haw emerged so tax. The issue in 
question is that of divine agency within the woridof tattuion. How can one reasonably 
affirm divine providence over the creative process without violation of the laws at 
future J4 known to natural science? For, if many natural scientists like Laplace have nn 
need for the God h^lnesa* in their teaching and; research, how can there be a 
fruitful dialogue between theologians, and scientists in which each group has sotne- 
thing to contribute to the other? Where, in brief, is. the 'causal joint" at which God* 
activity can pUusfth- be saki to impact on the 1 world of creation? (Clayton 199?: 1931.1 
William Stocger. Jesuit priest and astrophysicist at the Vatican Observatory m 
TVscson. Arizona, defends. Ihc classical Thomistic distinction between God's primary 
causality within creation and the secondary causality of creatures, but in more 
nuanced fashion than his predecessors in the Thomistic tradition. After indicating 
how the laws of nature are nothing more than human approximations of somewhat 
hidden regularities operative in the world of creation, he concludes: 

God con be conferred as acting through the laws, but the ones through wh*h Cod k jctmg 
principally arc not 'our Imo.' but raiher the underlying relationships and regularities in nature 
elf. of which 'our lam" are but imperfect and idealised models. And these underlying interrcU 
oonships and rcpuUricies pemea aspects which we are urabk to represent aoequately— for 
eximple. the ground* of pcflsfeility, of necessary, md of enitencc itself. (Stocger 1996: ajOH ! 

Thus, white we observe the workings of the laws of Nature only 'from the outside', 
God experiences and knows Ihem 'from within' in all their relationships, "including 
those which determine their possibilities and necessities and grounding in God" 
(Stocger 199& iji). Since we have no proper analogy for primary causality m 
human experience, however, it still must stand as an exception to any philosophical 
or scientific explanation of causal relationships within Nature. 

In an essay entitled 'The Metaphysics of Divine Action', the Anglican priest and 
scientist John Polkinghorne explores the possibility of using contemporary chaos 
theory as an explanation of the causal joint. T or a chaotic system, its strange aitractor 
represents the envelope of possibility within which its future motion will he con 
tamed. The infinitely Variable paths of exploration of this strange attractor arc not 
discriminated from each other by differences of energy. They represent different 

1 I prescind here from the work of Michael Bene, William Derabski, and other contemporary 
proponents of intdugem design', since with their theories they seem 10 be conflating rehgjon and 
soeiKe rathe? llun *h«wing aheir necessary complementarity (see Itaupta 2000; 1-1.. 



p,tierns of behavior. Afferent inftMnp of temporal development" ^'olkirwhorne 
»r» ■** In « nventwn d cl "« *heory these different pauerm of pwlbi% arc 
taught about by minor disturbances within the environment, but PnlkifMhorne 

-,ai this unpredictability witKin Nature provides an opening for Go 
communicate 'active information' to the chaotic system without m.erferine with its 
normal operation. There a no energy transfer here from Cod to the world of. . ,',on 
btri only an infoton of further information, a form of top-down* causality 10 
complement the 'bottom-up" causality of the system itself i Hotkin^omc ,o<* n -i) 
Robert Russell and Wesley Wildman doubt, however, that chaos theory can be so 
readily u«d to provide the causal joint for the interaction of God and creature* in 
this world. For. strictly speaking, the mathematics of chaos theory seems to support 
metaphysical determinism more than metaphysical openness or indetemtinism 
(Wndtnan and Russell 1995: 84), For this reason, Nancey Murphy. Prpfcwor of 
PhSosopby at Puller TheologiQil Seminary, argues that divine agency is more likely 
operativeat the microscopic or quantum level of existence jnd activity within Nature 
than at the macroscopic levd of chaotic systems. Her cbim is that, while entitks at 
the quantum level have their distinguishing characteristics and specific possibilities 
for acting, it is not possible to predict exactly n-ken they will do whatever they do' 
.Murphy 199P 340 Sincethexe is no 'sufficient reason' for the entities themselves to 
decernuiie that choice. Murphy conclude?, that it a cither due 10 compJete random- 
ncis ur divine deterrriinalion Murphy 1995: 341). she opts for divine determinatioa, 
wbkh carries with it the implication that God is active in every event at the quantum 
levd. But this is not total ion on God's part, uncn entities at the quantum 
levd are still free to actualize their innate potentialities in their own w*y (Murphy 
199? 342-J)' Furthermore, as Murphy sees it, God can affect the thoughts, feelings, 
and actions of human beings through stimulation of neurons in the braim 'God's 
action on the nervous system would not be from the outside, of course, but by means 
of bouom-up causation from within (Murphy .995:349). Finally, in co-ojieralion 
with the free and intelligent activity of human being* God can exercisea form of top- 
down causality on the world of Nature 

Arthur Peacockej'ofmerdirexEorofthelanRamscy' Centre in CMord, is quite Kepual 
of efforts to Jmdthecausal joinisn ^ 

ail fas Murphy proposes) at the quantum level through bottom- up causality. Instead, he 
proposes that God worJcs exclusively in creaiion from the top down: 

The wwH-asa-whole. the laul world ivsteni. may be regarded a* in God," thuugh otio- 
togially distinct from CoA . . . If God interacts with the "world' at a whole at a supervenient 
levd of totality then God, by atToctipg the state of the world -as- a- whole, eould, on the modd 
of whole-part constrain I relationships tn comptes systems, be envbagci! as able to Cttxttft 
constninK upon ocnu an the myriad sub-lceU ofaibRKC that constitute that "woild 
witflWIE abroganitg the laws and rrgubiitio iUm ljs«dncally pcrtoon to dveoi. i PexMdu 1995* 
J*3-5; abo 1995: 157-WJ 

Whit Peacocke has principally in mind here is the interplay of the mind, the brain. 
and the rest of the body as a vinglc unitive es-esit .at any ^iven moment within human 
consciousness. If the mind b a uniLivc, unifying, centered constraint on the activity 

of our human bodies', then God can be analogously conceived as a 'unifying, un 
source and centered influence on event* in ibe world (tafiDtsBt ■49ffea&t-y:i CC ji 
l»j: l*fr-j). The analogy '* imperfect, since Cod transcend* lb* world En a way ft* ' a 
human being- even In moment* of full consciousness, does not transcend her body 
Bui l-.i -i makes clear that God's interaction wiih the world is more by wav r.f 

"flow ■<! ^formation' Shan a.< a transfer of energy, more a type of formal and" final 
causality than efficient causality. In this way, says foacocke. God nets peratwfadi 
rather than forcttufly wiih creatures, leapevtrng the- Epontuktitji and OotoloricaJ 
iridependence of eTrarures. above all, ai the human level {Pcacocke 19950: t^_ .*. 

Philip Clayton, Professor of Philosophy and Rclicum at the Qjrcmnnt School nf 

Theology and ibe Claneraont Graduate Uulveniiy in Qaremont. California, agrees 

wish Pcacockc that the best model for the God-world relationship b pancmhchm 

(everything in God but oniolopcaDy dUl inct rromGod), and thai divine .i^rKvm the 

world should be seen a* analogous to the mtnd-fcody relation withm human being* 

(Clayton 1997^ 232-*). Tnrre are, of course, inevitable limitation* Jo this approach. 

According to traditions' ' ian belief, God 'precedes Ibe world, guides it* cvolu- 

Uon and continues in existence after its end' (Clayton 1997:239). The same cannot he 

said of the relationship of the mind to the body within human beings. Likewise, most 

Christum believe in life after death in union >tiih the risen Christ; but this, too seems 

impossible tf the mind-body relationship is too dose. Hence. Clayton sstratcgY ■& first 

to challenge a purely rnatcrialistic approach to reality-, that is, to establish from a 

soeniific perfective the legitimacy of spcrifically mental propcnii-> (e.g. thinking and 

willinr) over and above the activity of neuron-, in the brain (Clayton 1997; 247-17), 

Then, from a philosophical perspective, he argues that both scientists and thcobguns 

must have recourse to metaphyseal assertions about reality which arc not empirically 

testable in order to present a coherent picture of reality within their own discipline 

(Clayton 1997: i^-Oo). Accordingly, theologians can legitimately make certain claim* 

about the God-world relationship (e.g, that God is a personal being who transcend* 

phvval wmld even though immanent within it at all times, that human beings arc 

made j n the image of God. and that God can grant immortality and bodily resurrection 

10 human bring* after their death J, even though these assertions cannot be serined 

empirvcally, For they frame the Christian world-view derived from Scripture and 

church teaching (Clayton 1997: 161-4). 

Locating the Causal Joint? 

Many oTher authors could be cited in connection with this, discussion on the cauvtl 
joint tor the interaction nf God with the world of creation. But the author* tiled 
above seem to cover the basic options. One can appeal with Stoeger to primary 
causality as qualitatively different from secondary causality operative in cauul 
relations wil hi n this world. But there is no analogue for primary causality wi ; 

hwii. iHlOLOflY ANfS MBlNHitSlCS 


inaan expenence. With FWkmghornc one can appeal to the way in which God 
, 1>B H conceivably comrmiiitttte active information- to cruotic systems on the 
,; level to influence the* further development, and with Murphy We can 
nfe bsstaHr the same argumem on the quantum level; p^ ibe alleged intrinsic 
mdetenninacy Of *ubatomiC particles. But one can counter-argue in both cases that 
ibe alleged indetefrninflcy is only a gap in n UT human knowledge of the laws of 
Nature which wil] someday be remedied by further scientific investigation. With 
tactfeke and Clayton one can appeal to the way in which top-down causality works 
whhin hierarchically Ofdered natural system* and urge that God is operative within 
the world in a manner akin to the way in which the mind influences the body (and is 
aftected by the body) within human beings. But there are limits to this model of the 
God-world relationship from a theological perspective. Hence, while ail these op- 
tion* shed light on the issue of the causal joint, none of rhem seems to offer a fully 
satisfactory solution to the problem of the interaction between God and the world of 
creation. None of them, for example, offers a supporting metaphysical ranccptuajity 
in which the trans-empirical hypotheses of both religion and science could be 
grounded and thu* rendered more plausible. 

|m rbrbuur, to be sure, ground? his understanding of the God-world relationship 
fa the metaphysics: of Alfred North Whitehead But. as noted above, he has rcscrva- 
tiora about certain features of Whiteheads scheme from a strictly philosophical 
perspective: namely, the Ongoing ontologica! identity of the self in human conscious* 
otss and the interplay between higher and lower lend* of Whiteheadian societies 
in the overall order of Nature. In my opinion, Barbour's reservatiorts arc 
justified; only a new way of conceiving Whitchcadkn societies us more than simply 
aggregates of analogously constituted actual occasions (momentary subjects of 
experience) is needed to make Whitehead's philosophy a plausible choice for rnedi- 
ating between the expectations of traditional Christian theology and contemporary 
natural science. In the following pages, T will set forth such a revised understanding of 
Whitehead's category of society, and then show its applicability to both theology and 
natural science, 

A* die conclusion of God and Gmiampotaty Scwner* Clayton notes that matter is 
no longer easy to identify, given Albert £i luteins celebrated mathematical equation 
; nu* and its application to the notion of Torce-ficJaY within contemporary 
physics (Clayton 1997: 263), Along the same lines, I believe that Whiteheadian 
societies should be interpreted as structured field* of activity for their constituent 
actual occasions and that emphasis should be laid upon the character of actual 
occasions as psychic energy events rather than mini things. Furthermore, there is a 
textual basis in Whitehead's thought for such an undemanding of the reality of 
societies. Jn Process and Rertltry Whitehead refers to background societies for any 
given set of corn: resting (or becoming) actual occasions as 'environments' arranged 
in 'layer* of social order' which directly influence the self- constitution of those same 
actual occasians (Whitehead 197S; 90). Then a few lines later be notes that 'in a 
society, the members can only exist by reason of the laws which dominate the society, 
and the laws only come into bong by reason of the analogous characters of the 

of our human bodies* then God can be analogously conceived as a 'unifying unii 
*ouree and centered influenccon events in the world' (Peacockc i9Q(k 284-^ see 
199$ 160-*). The analogy is impcrfecT. since God tnUNOcnds ihe world in a way tlitt° 
human being, even in momems of hall consciousness, docs not transcend her hnrl 
But it at least nukes vicar tJnI Gods interaction with the world n morchy wavof 
"flow of Infe pr tf t fa n' than as a transfer of energy, more a type of formal arid fin 1 
eausahiy than efficient causality. In this way, says Peacockc, God acts pcrsuaihtU. 
rather than forcefully with creature*, respecting ihe spontaneity and oniobacai 
independence of creatures, above all, at ihe human level (Peacocke 199^ 1^-4^1 

Philip Clayton. Professor of Philosophy and Religion at ihe Claretnont Sehoo .; 
TheoJ d the Claretnont Graduate Univmiry in. Clarentont. California, agrees 

with Peacocke that the bed modcJ for the God-world relationship is panenihciwn 
(everything in God hut ontolagicauY distinct from God ), and that divine agency in the 
world should be seen as analogous to the mind-body relation within human* beings 
(Clayton 1907* 2_u~5). There are. of course, inevitable limitations to this approach. 
According to traditional Christian belief. God 'precedes the world, guides its evolu- 
tion and continues in existence after its end" (Clayton 1907: 259). The same cannot be 
said of the relationship of rhc mind to the body within human beings. Likewise, most 
Christians believe in life after deaih in union with the risen Christ; but this too «etm 
impossible if the mind-body relationship is too close. Hence, Clayton's strategy is first 
to challenge a purely materialistic .approach to reality: that is, to establish from a 
scientific perspective the tegitimacy of specifically mental properties (e.g. t hinting and 
willing) over and above the activity of neurons in the brain (Gayton 8997: 247-57). 
Then, from a philosophical perspective, he argues that both scientists and theologians 
must have recourse to mclaphvskal assertions about reality which are not empirically 
testable in order to present 3 coherent picture of reality within their awn discipline 
(Clayton 9997:259-60)- Accordingly, theologians can legitimately make certain claims 
about the God-world relationship (c,g. that God is a personal being who transcends 
the physical world even though immanent within it ai all rimr*. that human being? art 
nude in iheimageofGod-and that God can grant immortality and bodilv resurrection 
to human beings after their death), even though these assertions cannot be verified 
empirically. For they frame the Christian world-view derived from Scripture and 
church teaching (Clayton 1997: 161-4)- 


Many other authors could be cilcd in connection with this discussion on the causal 
joint for the interaction of God with the world of creation. Bui ihe authors cited 
above seem to cover the basic options. One can appeal with Stocger to primary 
causality as qualitatively different from secondary causality operative in cauul 
relations within this world. Bui there is no analogue for primary causality mtWo 




hurr-an experience. With Folkxnghorne one em appeal To the way in which Ciod 
old conccivjhh communicate 'active information to chaotic systems on the 
macroscopic level to influence their further development, and with Murphy we can 
tpAe basically the same argument on the quantum level, given the alleged intrinsic 
indeterminacy of subatomic part.cles. But one can counter argue in both cases that 
the alleged indeterminacy is only a gap in our human knowledge of the laws en- 
sure which will someday be remedied by further scientific instigation With 
Peacocfce and Clayton one can appeal to the way in which top-down causality work, 
within hierarchically ordered natural systems and urge thai God is operative within 
the world in a manner akin to the way hi whkh the mind influences the body (and is 
affected by the body) within human beings. But there arc limits to this model of the 
God-world relationship from a theological perspective. Hence, while ail these op- 
lions shed light on the issue of the causal joint, none of them seem* to ofler a fully 
satisfactory solution to the problem of the interaction between God and the world of 
creation. None of them, for example, offers a supporting metaphysical concepruality 
m which the trans-empirical hypotheses of both religion and science could be 
grounded and thus rendered more plausible. 

Ian Barbour, to be sure, grounds his undemanding of the God-world relatiewship 
in the metaphysics of Alfred North Whitehead. But. as noted above, he has reserva 
ns about certain features- of Whiteheads scheme from a strictly philosophical 
perspective: namely, the ongoing ontologies! identity of the self in human consciouv 
nea and ihe interplay between higher and lower fords of Whiichcadian societies 
ftrJun the overall order of Nature. In my opinion. Barbour's reservations are 
1 'lined; only a new way of conceiving Whitehcadian socicncs as more than simply 
aggregates of analogously constituted actual occasions Imomcnlary subjects of 
experience) is needed to make Whitehead's philosophy a plausible choke for medi- 
ating berween the expectations of traditional Christian theology and contemporary 
natural science. In the following pages, I will set forth such a revised understanding of 
Whitehead* rar^nry <if society, and then show iu applicability to both theology and 
natural science. 

At the conclusion of God and Contemporary Science, Clayton notes that matter b 
no longer easy to identity, given Albert Einstein's celebrated mathematical equation 
m£ and its application to the notion of "fbrce-ndds 1 within conTemporary 
physics (Clayton 1997: 263I Along the same lines. I believe that tVmteheadian 
societies should be interpreted as structured fields of activity for their constituent 
actual occasions and that emphasis should be laid upon the character of actual 
occasions as psychic energy events rather than mini things. Furthermore, there is a 
textual basis in Whitehead 's thought far such an understanding of the reality of 
wcselies. In Process and fadity Whitehead refers 10 background societies for any 
given set of conerescing (or becoming) actual occasions as 'environments' arranged 
m 'layers of social order" which directly influence the self-constitution of those same 
actual occasions (Whitehead 1978: 90), Then a few lines later he notes that 'in a 
society, the members can only exist by reason of the laws which dominate the society, 
and the laws only come into being by reason of Ihe analogous characters of the 

member* of the warty' (Whitehead W»: 90-1). These few remarks of Whifch 
about ihe interrelationship ofsodcuesand their constituent actual occa i n% 
rro judgement key 10 a heTter undemanding of how bottom-up and tor^do " 
causation can be sjinultaneously opera ttve within Whitehcadian societies nJo n th^ 
lines indicated above by Peacaekc and CEayion. 

Bottom-up causation is easy lo understand, since in Whitehead'* own word 
agency belongs eaxlusivciy to actual occasions' (Whitehead 1.978; 31), f^ch actual 
occasion is active in iU own self-constitution. Indirecuy, of course, it contributes 1 
llie structure of the society (or societies) to which it belongs, because analo KOUS -. 
constituted actual occasions find themselves as a result of their individual self- 
constitution grouped together into societies with 'a common dement of hem 
I Whitehead 197* 34>- But is this sufficient to account for the refci Lively unchanein 
Character ol those same societies? Whitehead ctauns thai within his philosophy ft i 
not "substance" which b permanent, but ' lornr 1 C Whitehead 1978: 29), Bui how u 
the "common element of form' transmitted from one set of actual occasion j t( K 
next so as to guarantee continuity of form? In line with his own commitment to 
metaphysical atomism (Whitehead 197S: 35). Whitehead assert* that each constituent 
actual occasion within a given society transmutes the multiple physical feelings 
which it prehends from its predecessor so as lo acquire a single physical feeling or ii% 
environrncnt as a nexus or community of past actuai entities, and then adapts that 
untried physical feeling to its own purposes in its sdf-cotiititution (Whitehead 197& 
*50-s)- Presumably all the constituent actual occasions will undergo this, process of 
transmutation in basically the same Way and thus retain their ontologies! identity as a 
society wnh a dennite pattern of self-organization, 

My counter-argument for mam years now has been that this, is much 100 com 
plicated and chancy. A much simpler explanation is that the society is a field of 
activity structured by the interph. o ik constituent actual occasions from moment 
to moment which likewise serves as the principle of continuity for the transmission 
of form from one set of actual occasions to another. The actual occasions, in other 
word*, do not individually have to transmute ihc common element uf funii from 
their predecessors. Rather, they prehend the common element of form already 
resident in the field as a result of the activity of those same predecessors. Then by 
their dynamic interrelation here and now they cither transmit the structure of the 
society unchanged to their successors or adapt it very slightly in line with their own 
somewhat changed existential situation. In either case, the society as a structured 
held of activity for its constituent actual occasions is what survives as successive 
generations of actual occasions come into and go out of existence. 

This might initially appear to be simply a metaphysical nuance 10 be debated 
among Whireheadiant alone. But once accepted as plausible, it ha* unexpected 
explanatory power for understanding the simultaneous operation of bottom-up 
and top-down causality within Nature. iUkcvvise, it makes clear how \upervemciKc' 
and emergence' are factors in the evolution of more complex natural ftnoctwea 
along the lines indicated by Pcacockc and Clayton. The key facte* in both these 
instances is that unlike 'substances' in the classical sense, fields can Ik layered within 



tC another ami thus serve a* respectively the infrastructure or superstructure of 
their neighbours. Thus within 4 given society the inherited structure of the field acts 
B uptown causation on its constituent actual occasions here and now through 
what we might coU formal causality. Unlfcc an Aristotelian form, however, the 

irjciui* of the field is not active bur passive; that is. it U simply available for 
prehension by the currently concrrscing actual occasion* which then exercise 
torn. up causality on the structure of the field for the next set of actual occasion*, 
likewise, since Whitehead allows for different levels or grades of complexity for 
actual occasions (Whitehead 197s: 177-8), one can justify the emergence of higher 
levels of cwMitce and activity within N«ture by proposing that, as the structure of a 
given society becomes more complex, its constituent actual occasions necessnrilv 
become more complex until by their dynamic interrelation at a pven point they 
spofltaneousry generate a new society or structured field of activity with new higher- 
order occasions to populate the field. In this way. without any outside 
intervention, through a strictly immanent process, one structured field of activity 
.an supervene upon or be emergent from a predecessor structured field of activity. 
The lower-level field of activity still act* as an indispensable infrastructure tor the 
functioning ot the higher-level field, even as the higher-level field of activity condi- 
tions the seif-constitiitJon of the actual occasions in the lowtrr-levd field 10 of activity 
:iiiehead 197S: 106). 

Likewise, applied to the mind-brain correlation, this notion of a Wrtitehe^dun 
society as a structured field of activity for its constituent actual occasions yields 
surprising results. In Process and Reality Whitehead distinguishes entirely living' 
actual occasions which constitute the 'regnant nexus 1 of actual occasions within a 
more complex 'structured society' from its necessary infrastructure, layers of subor- 
dinate sub-societies of non-living actual occasions (Whitehead 1978; ioj). On the 
level of the mind-brain correlation this nexus of entirely Irving actual occasions 
corresponds to the mind, and the infrastructure of sub-societies of non-living actual 
occasions to the brain with its elaborate neuronal network. He ihen adds that while 
the nexus of entirely living actual occasions is not a society in the strict sense, it still 
supports 'a thread of personal order along some historical route of its members* 
(Whitehead, 10713: 104). t argue that this thread of personal order among entirety 
Irving actual occasions is best accounted for in terms of a superordinate field of 
activity which integrates and co-ordinates the activity of .ill the sub- fields of activity 
within the brain. J 

Given the plausibility of this argument, the problem of an omologk.d dualism 
between mind and brain disappears. For, entirety living actual occasions constituting 

'Finally, the brain is coordinated so that a peculiar nchneu of inhentance is enjoyed now 
by this and now by that part; and thus there is produced the presiding personality at (hat 
fflomefll In the body Owing to the delicate organization of the body, there is a returned 
influence, an inheritance of character tram the presic&in^ occasion -inCt modifying the uib- 
wquent occasion* through the rest of the body* (Whitehead 1978; 109). Given the movement 
ttV'pmiding personality' from run in pan of the brain, and yet its wide-ranpng influence 
Bfl the reit of the body through the brain. \ field metaphor easily comes to mind- 

the mind or wail represent only a high* r £rade of actual occasion, not A different L a 
of entity altogether from the non-living actuaE occasions constituting the n " 
network ol the brain. Likewise the mind or soul is emergent out of the intr f 
tho»c Same non-living actual occasions organized into sub fields of activity w'tk 
the brain. Thus it is both dependent on. and yet independent of, its infrastruciuK of 
sahnrdmatcsoh-sneierics- It is not a higher-order property or function of the b 
as Clayton and others maintain {Clayton aoo* r£$-9). but an entity in its own right 
the- supero-rdinace field of activity within a Whitcheadian structured society >f 
hierarchically ordered sub- societies. 

There is. of course. still another objection which Cla.yion and others Ivdoe acain 
rath a scheme (be the mind-brain connection. It presupposes panpiychisrn; namd ■ 
chueverYkvrf of reality 

a claim that cannot be verified empirically and .thus lvxll inevitably bcic;ccTcdflrat least 
held in suspicion by the scientific community. But b this reductive!) a f a j| urc , 
imagination on the part of both contemporary natural scientist and philosopher/ 
theologians^ As already noted, Einstein stipulated that matter and energy arc inter- 
changeable- Yet is enexgv preferably to be associated with inert particles of matter or 
with self ^constituting sub i ccts of experience exhibiting both particle-like and wave like 
p iuperoes?Mn any case .1 turn now to the fi naJ section of u^e^y.dealing with various 
theological implications of my scheme, including my own solution to the problem of 
the causal joint. 

Theological Implications 

Beiicl in God as Trinity, three divine Persons who are collectively still one tiod. n m 
Clayton's terms a ' trans -empirical' hypothesis (Clayton 19^7: ?Ao; ?oo^: i79-as).Thai 
is, it cs well grounded in the Christian Bible, above all in the Gospel of lohn and the 
cpiflta of Saint Paul, and has been a consistent farter in church leaching over the 
cent uric*; but it cannot be verified simply through appeal to immediate experience or 
current scientific research. Yet, as I shall make clear below, it is consistent with a lldd- 
oncntrd approach to VVhiteheadian societies. This fold -oriented approach to reality, 
moreover, provides a plausible philosophical explanation for she phenomenon 
of emergence within cosmology and evolutionary biology. One may reasonably 
ask. therefore, whether a irinitarian understanding of God within the conical of a 

See eg. Bracken 1941: vr-7Si likewise Barbour 1005 and Athrarn at»s. Both authors 
emphac&e that contemporary natural »cicirtiit* may unconsciously be worxinj with *fl 
-uidjied ontology and thus be indirectly guilty of Whitehead trrmed thr fallacy of 
mivpI*^d^oixrdencM (cil WhiEcbead 1967b si: 19 t& 154). 



field-onemed approach to physical reality provides the long-sought tmisd joint for 
divinr-hum-in interaction. 

for, as noied earlier, unlike classical 'substances, fields can be layered within one 
another in such fl way thai they can serve respectively as the infrastructure and 
superstructure of one another. Thus if the Trinity can be said to constitute the top- 
mOfls ■fl-lndusivc held of activity within a Acid-oriented approach to reality, and if 
the Irinil> therein both bifluelKO and U influenced by the vast nctwwfc of finite 
r;clds oi activity contained within it, then the problem of the causal joint is in 
principle solved- In what follows I sketch simply the broad outline of thi* proposal 
and refer the reader to previous publications for further details (Bracken 1095; 51-69. 


lag Whitehead's terminology. I maintain that the three divine Persons of the 
daiHaldtKrunneofuSeTrinrryarc per* laltyordcrcd vicictie* atattul cttaswra 
hitenead 197*: _u-s). each with an infinite field of activity proper to its own 
function within the Godhead But, since three non overlapping in/mire fields of 
activity IS a logical impossibility, together lhe>* constitute a single all-comprehensive 
field of activity with three distinct foci or perspectives. According to Whitehead, the 
principle of creativity whereby the many become one and axe increased by one' » 
limply a metaphysical given applied to the tdf-constitution of actual entities I While- 
head 197H; ail. I argue that it is the nature or principle of existence and activity for the 
divine Persons, and that it applies not only to each of them indmdualSy as a 
personally ordered society of divine actual occasions, but also to their coexistence 
as members of one and the same divine fieEd of activity. The field, in other words, 1 
their collective and obH"cttve fttff- expression, that which endures in virtue of their 
ongoing dynamic interrelations as immaterial subjects of experience. 

Furthermore, I suggest thai the world of creation as a very Earge but still finite 
network of societies of finite actual occasions come* into existence and is sustained at 
every moment within this divine matrix, or all-comprehensive field of activity Ail 
these sub-socMuks of actual occasions or subordinate fields of activity contribute 
their structure or 'common element ol lorm' to the structure of the divine matrix. 
akin to the way in which Whitehead in Process and R&iHty describes how all the 
events uking place in this world at every moment are integrated within the conse- 
quent nature' of Hod (Whitehead 197& 34MJK liltewise, akin to Whitehead's 
scheme, I argue that in virtue of their "primordial nature' or unlimited vision of 
rxKsibiliues for the future, the throedivine Persons offer a 'lure* or an 'initial aim" to 
every concrcscing actual occasion within this vast network of finite sub-societies 
constituting the world of creation (Whitehead 1978: zaa). But. since creativity is rri 
the sirst place their own divine nature, along with the initial aim they communicate 
to the concrescing actual occasion, a finite share of their own craUvitv which 
empowers it to become itself in line with its own. self^constituttng 'decision'. In this 
way, the three divine Persons ate involved in the creation or self-constitution of the 
individual actual occasion, but they do not determine how it will happen. Their 
activity with respect to their creatures is more by way of final causality than efficient 
causality (as in scholastic mctaphysicsl. 

! ..fciasjkaJ Christian belief U thtii human brings after thei rf, 
will enjoy eternal Mr In ration wfth Christ u the risen Lord. As I see si. this "^ 
possible within the God-world r^auonship presented her*, provided th t^ ™ 
accept* the implicanont of she metaphysics of intersubtcciLViK implicit ih eh 
Whitehead stipulated that "the final real things of which the world ts made up* 
actual occasions or momentary sub | experience i Whitehead i$?g -irj k Y* 

could not account for intcrMihicctivity within his Metaphysial! scheme sin 
actual occasion cannot prehend Eli predecessors except as superjects'. devoid of 
subketftity or the power of srif-constitution (Whitehead 1978: h-8). &« 
preheneb (mile actual occasions objectively fts ^perfects, mi as coexisting wihra 

cxpcfjriicc. Some year* ago Man one Suchocfci sought to remedy this lacuna 
Whitehead's mruphy*ics, and therein Bo legitimate tbe poMibtHty riot simp! 
objective immortaJicy but also of subjective immortality for finite actual occaX 
within the dhine consequent nature. She proposed ihat God prebends finite actuJ 
occasion* in the momeni of enjoyment" when the actual occasion i 5 subject and 
superset at the same rime (Suchocki 1968: 81—06). Hence, God can integrate them 
both uitoeccandsupcnect into the divine consequent nature, and thereby than* ^ft 
them the divine, life on an int trsubjecrive basis. 

Though ingenious, Suchodu » proposal, in my judgement, still does not meet (be 

classical expectations of Christians about eternal life and resurrection of the body 

One must stretch Whitehead's scheme even further 10 make it Suitable for thai task. 

One should begin by stating that miersubjeetiviry exists not between individual 

actual occasions or momentary subjects of experience, but between the socklies of 

which die?' arc constituents in terms of their mutually overlapping fields of activity 

Whiteheadion societies to be sure, are agents or subjects of experience not Jn their 

0*m risju. but only in virtue of their constituent actual occasions. Yet every society 

has a subjective focus in terms of a regnant actual occasion or set of co-ordinate 

actual occtfforu. Thus, when two or more societies ofacrual occasicmsmcrge 10 form 

a common fidd of activity, inrersubjectivuy b ceo mo a reality in virtue of thai s)urcd 

ndd of aoh-aty. 

pied to Christian belief in eternal life and the resurrection of the body, this 

means that the three divine Persons and all their creatures faff a common field of 

acthiry (in the language of the Bible, the Kingdom of God) which is itruourcd by the 

decisions of the divine Persons and all their creatures tram moment to moment. But. 

a* crraturdy societies of actual occasions cease to exist in this world, their final 

constituent actual occasion ate incorporated into a still higher-order intersubjectivc 

nrlaticmship with the divine Persons than tliey enjoyed while in this life. I say final 

constituent actual occasion!.* since all that is needed for a created society of actual 

occasion;, to enjoy subjective as wel! as objective immortality within the held of 

actrvny proper (o the divine Persons is a subjective focus in terms of a final actual 

occasion or set of actual occasions. Thus, not individual actual occasions as in 

SuchockM proposal (Suchocki 19*8: 107-11), but saddles of actual occasions, the 

persons and things of ordinary experience, achieve eternal life in union with the 

divine Persons. 

rniLuwrmc -a THstaiOGY a* D m»TAPH»«C1 


I M y 'persons and things also quite deliberately, since societies of Kt«| occasions 
redeemed by divine grace include in the first piaw the societies of actual occasion* 
oonitHunve of our minds or wuls. But they jfco include the sub -societies of an .1 
occasions constitutive of our bodies as well as our minds. SO that we may enjoy 
eternal life as a psychosomatic unity. Yd. if our human bodies can be thus redeemed 
and transformed, then the whole of material creation should likewise somehow 
experience taiancafon' within the divine life. Our bodk*. after all, are composed 
of the «me tusic elements as the rest of the universe. In brief, then, within the divine 
field of activity nothing that ever existed is lost: everything WVrrej even though, the 
manner of survival will differ notably from creature Co creature Finally, as I sec It, 
■resurrcennn' does not have to wan until the projected end of the world. It happens at 
evTry moment as societies of finite actual occasion* i n imc wavor to 
«3*t. One can thus introduce into Whitehead's metaphysical scheme something like 
Te^hird de Chardins vision of the Cosmic Christ as the Omega Point or cumulation 
of the evolutionary process, but present it as it is achieved at every moment rather 
thin only at the end of the world- 
Further elaboration v( this process-oriented cschatology is presented elsewhere 
(Bracken 2005). Sufficient for this essay is. the basic exposition of a metaphysical 
scheme which seems apt for mediating between the claims of commiparary natural 
science and those of Christian theology. That is, it offers a rationale for the emergence 
ijhffr-order forms of fife from lower-order levels of organization within Nature 
even a* it provides a plausible philosophical argument for the retention of cherished 
I Istian beliefs. As such, it offers a 'common language which has been missing in 
discussions between scientists and theologians since the beginning of the modern era. 
system of metaphysics, of course, it is a trans-crnpiricalhyTKithesis which cannot 
befiiDy verified either in terms of common-sense experience or in virtue of content- 
porary-sqicmilK research, But, as Whitehead commented m Adventures of Ideas, what 
is important about a proposition or set of ideas is not m the first place that it he true, 
but that it be interesting, provocative of further Deflection (Whitehead 1967a i+4). 
This chapter was written with this gpa\ in mind. 

References and Suggested Reading 

ArHflAJw, D. iicios). Toward an On to logical Explanation of tijtht". Proeta StuJio^ ^ -K-6I. 
BABBoin. 1. G. C»99»l- JWiffStfW M* tin A$t tfScialtt. San Francisco; Harper & Raw. 

— — (1397)- Religion ami Sdaicr. Hhioncal unit Canimpmary /ssuej. San Francisco: Ha^pe^ 

CoJi ■ 

— — (2002I. Xarure, Human Nannr* and <xhI. Minneapolis: Fortrc-vt Proa. 

fiooi). 'Evolution and Process Thought. Theology and Science, 3: 1AH-7L 

Bkackex, U SJ (1991). Society atu& Sprit A Trtnitttridn Cwiiobgx Toronto: Associated 

I nis-ersuy Ptoses. 
tl99i>- The Divine Matrix Cmiiinry as Unk between £mi ami ¥fat Maryknofl. N V 

Orbk Books. 

bsfnwirtfp Grand Rqftfe, MkA Eerdnwnt, ^^* 1, ** r ' w 

(Mo}). 'SijbKctivcInrDTiortjiity in a Nco-WhiiHir-nfun { AntCxC*. In T, Bracken, a ,--j 

H 'Id Mrittoii r^-Oirirtiw&rfw^pp^/remrt Pta-« ftwpfttJ^ r; M „d Rapids. mS 1 ' 

I.. 51 (n*B7). At dtf Orf s -iT- r: 74mkrn Artaum. New Haven? Yak Uj&renil b 
» ( iffT), Gurf am* OnrmrjWffry &wtM*. Gr^nd Rapids. MicJu EcrdmjnJ *"" 

1 3004 1. MiuJamlEmtrgnwr? from Quantum to Cowwrisfim Oxford OxfordU 

fret*. ^nrvcfBty 

BAOBOTj. Uooo}. GeJ after Damn: A Tfwvfogy cf £ivim»n, Bonlder, Colo.: Wirriew V 
1VMK5. D, [aooi] 'Medieval Science and Rriipon". in G. Fcmjtren (rd.), &vik 
Rr%foK A HirifcrirtF /rji'WttcTKWi. BahittKirr. Mms Hoptam University hi**, 57-7, *" 
Mi/arnr. N. I1995I. Divine Action m the NaturaJ Order. Bur i dans Ass and Sthrocdui ' 
Cat', in Russefl if uL (199$ >- 3*5-57- gCT * 

HiaiBttS. K 1. : HU ( CBmoganW in G. Fenian (est). Admr anaf ReNgmrt : A Hiaohta! 

lnrKklim;ii*n, BahimiMr: John* Hnpfcms U nireislly Press, 454-44. 
Pkaoocki. A. dw.U TW^V«aflYiin^i^rtarrri?^ 
Uigtttim Minneapolis: Fortress. Press. 

I»995«J). 'Chance and law in Inwnihk Themusdvn.wnks, Theoretical Biofciw jM 

Theology", in rUuveii er «rl (1995'. '^3-43. 

! Wjfe). God i Interaction with the Wortd; The Implications of r>cierminwtk "CaW 

and of Interconnected and Interdepend en t Compfcxity; in Ruwefr c* „l ( 1995), 26^, 
PouoscMOfcxh j ^l *7nc Meupn>-Bcs o( Divine Action*, m RysseU rr at (1995s, W7 1^ 

< 199*1. Belief m Cod in en Age of Same*. New Haven; Yale University Pre**. 

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Noire Danie Preis. 107-51 
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Brighton: Sussex Academic Press. 

VVsstoiu. K Oaazt. 'haac Newton', in G, Ferngren (ed.>. Senna and WAjpon- A Htitetbai 

/nmiAfutfn'M. Balamorei John Hopkins University Press, 153-62. 
WHrratiAii, A, H. 1 19*61. Modes ef Thought New- Yorlc Frrc Press. 

1 19*7*1). Adventures of Ideas. Nev» York- Free Pees, 

(19070.1. Saenaand the Modem Wodd New York Free Press. 

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DMAM, W„ and Ki ssrxL, R_ 04«». Cbaos; A Maihcmntical Imroductiorv with Phtlo- 
wphkal Refleoions: m Rusadl cf at (19^), 49-90 






The Need for Dialogue 

Why should Christian theologian* get invoked in a dialogue- with natural sewnce? 
Pnsooal reasons aside, they should take an batcxest in science because they have to 
account for ihe world of nature, including human beings, in the context of their 
existence 3$ God s creation. When Christians confess Qod *$ ihc Creator of the world, 
it b inevitabh/ the same world that is also the object of scientific descriptions, 
although the language may be quite different. Therefore, theologians must be con- 
cerned with the question of how theological assertions about the world, and about 
human beings as God's creation, can be related 10 their descriptions by scientists. 
After ail. there is only one world, and this one world is claimed as God's creation in 
the Bible and in the faith of the Church. 

Now there arc obvious differences between the way the BiWc. especially- in its first 
chapter, presents tiie work! as God's creation and the account of the reality of the 
universe, of the stars and the Earth, of vegetation, animals, and the human being, in 
modem Kicncc. In order lo do justice to those differences, it is important to be aware of 
the fact that to a large extent they ore due to historical differences between the 
knowledge about natural forms and processes available in the sixth century before 
Christ (and presupposed by the btnlicaE rather*) and that of modern science. Ilus 
there is not supply a contrast between revelation and empirical knowledge, hut between 
1 now obsolete fonn of empirical knowledge about the world that was once used to 

irti^h!* in dctwl the belief in God's creation of the wbofc world and a mod<m f 
empmu.1 kivmvWge Out might be looted upon in light of the question of vW^ 
rould serve j similar function in Uic modem situation. In asking such a cuewiorT' " 
should be aware of the feci that the biblical writers did n<* M mprv Iakr *** °j* 
empirical knowledge of their time, but *be> adapted it fop theoWita] Pu 
such a thing concdvalilc and alio legumuie with regard to modem seiencJftW £ 
the facts cannot be changed ar but thepmr^etwson Ihm imci^utw^nt 

more or kssdrtTcrent. It is desirable, in a dialogue b*twce n reli^on and scwn« Ca 
agreement with sacritislc on issue, of this sort. ' C * J| 

Hbcn ^icntistt talk to the general public about their methods and their res h* 
they uvr a language different from that of their science. They do not write" 
jo the bbcfcboard. bul nuhcr engage in a sort of philosophical reflection upL X 
they do as scientists. Similar*, it is on this level of philosophical reflection that tl 
dialogue between theofogy and science k taking place. Such pfclosophital reflection 
Of course. r^uiro.ippropri.itrawjfcrwM.ofthc methods and results of science in the 
proper Aensc.OnetaskofrhesncnuMv evolved in nah I dulc^ciiioniakcsurcthii 
r^pcrai«rcwssofthrmei^od^^dresu!tsofscienceis indeed presem on thi-tMrtAf 
the theologians pajtiripafcng in the dialogue. On ihcir side, the appropriate awareness 
ooneerning the la* of theology and regarding %& particular problems conned wilh 
the traditional theological language about God and creation h to be safeguarded. 

In addition, however, tamiluuity with the tradition of philosophical thought aboui 
naurc is also required e^waalry in connection with ihc philosophical origins of 
scscntrac language battC Key scicnti&c terms such as 'movement-, en* w ; 'atom' 
time', space', but also law; 'fidd. contingency", and others haw had a phibsophicaJ 
preWstory thar has influenced and to someettent still influences their •formalized' use 
in science, and especially the reflective awareness of their meaning and impact Alien 
uon mthcphuW^riical rewtsofsoemifatermme^ 

to notscc connections nA theological issues and concerns. Therefore, it should be 
considered I requirement of successful dialogue between theology and science to take 
into consideration the philosophical] framework of the hiMory of vimce 

Contingency and Law 

If general agreement on die conditions of such dialogue is obtained, it is necessary to 
select for doser study a set of issues that are relevant to science as well as to the 
theofcgkaJ understanding of the world as creation. In the 3*60* a smaK group of 
German physicists, philosophers, and theologians selected for such a closer study the 
OWlCcpl of natural for. on the one hand, and that of contingency, on the other.' 

See Muuer and rannenbenj (1970). M r conirihuiion To ihi* volume was pushed In 
tngiish (ranOarwn m Pannenbeig itwy 73^; ■ 

^^ L 522«W"I«,, *«»M systems, rHnotngy ^ 

ajrwng ihc rcaJOTW for thi* selection W lnc consideration that the idea thai 
cor^T c~n,s express tl K freedom of ^ the Creator and Lord of historv u 
central to theology m a fasruon ,i mU ar to the way that ihe concept of natural bw I to 

|„ addition, there are important between contingency and natural 
law. of each natural law presupposes initial conditio, Jnd „,,—«, 
^nd^ions that are cooungent rebtive to the regularity expressed by that partkuhii 
bw. This convent of eont.ogcncy belongs to the log* of the concept of nl^ai iaw 
itself and of us application. Contingency in th« sense ha5 ^ ^ ^^ 
] jialconr l ngenc > (EuasseU 19S8). in dastmct.on to contingency as aa .ndn of «cal 
„«,(«. Ine occurrence of the initial and margmal conditions in the applications ofa 
particular Uw may. of course, be explained by another bw. so that the pppearance of 
their contingency Seems to be dissolved. But this other law again presupposes 
contingent conditions for its applications. Thus the problem of contingency-of 
the contingent occurrence of data for the application of natural law-cannot be 
discarded in principle. 

lTtii««ns to suggest that contingency of even* may be the basic reafcty of natwe. 
His to contingent sequence of .such esents within which reguUrities occur and can 
be observed, such as in the regularities of sequence thai can be described by formulas 
Mi Jaw. Such a conception of reality has the advantage of overcoming the 
oppositton between contingency and detenniruiioa by Uw, because a contingent 
sequence of events does not exclude the possibility of tcgularibes occurring in that 
sequence, though the regulates that can be described in terms of natural bw 
represent only one aspect of the sequence of events; 

Such a view presupposes, of course, that contingency is indeed a basic feature of 
pbyjucaJ reality, no less than the rattcy of law is, and is even const.tutive of the 
occurrence of bws themselves, since they are perceived as based on regularities in the 
sequence of events. It is understandable that sciential at first feel uneasy at this point, 
since the endeavour of science seems to aim at the reduction of apparent contingency 
10 the operation of Urn in the course of evenis. Therefore, many scientists hesitated 
to accept the assumption of irremovable contingency in the reality of nature. At the 
the conversations in the Sixties, the most prominent oumplc of men 
tnn-.ablt contingency was provided b) oamtusn physics Utl nt& a^antnen 
field theory had restored the possibiiity of i determiiittuc description of quantum 
pwewea with regard to great numbers of events, in the form of statistical bws, the 
individual quantum cvcni» remained in a state of unpredictabiliiy. Notwithstanding 
Albert Einstein's famous dictum that Ciod does not play dice, on the subatomic level 
coniingena seems irremovable- Butbteroo. the investigation of non linear thermo- 
dynamic processes, and especMy the work of ilya Prigogine and Isabelle Stcngers. 
demanitrnted thai even in macrophysical pnxevses— if they lake place br from 
thermodynamic equilibrium — contingent esents occur that arc not onh unpredicc- 
■Ue and irreversible, but also have the potential of changing the direction of 
evolutionary processes at 'bifurcation points (Prigogine 1980 and Prigogine an.i 
Slengm 10 vt5l. Processes like these have been called chaotic'. But such a Vh.W is not 

completely irregular. It wis certainly Comet 10 speak of a drferrnimstK chaos' * 
even here the concrpl ol natural law does not become inapplicable (Bom" 
Ganoczy 1995*- lis application » quite obviously reduced, however, In thedescririt 
of regularities thjt can be observed in sequenced of can tin gen I events, 

The idea of natural law as relating to the regularities observed in the sequtnc f 
contingent events should not be considered to be opposed to contingency Iw 
the application of natural law kstM presupposes sequences of (contim> 
event* happen, since otherwise laws could not be observed either. In ih»fozv 
the other hand. Ihe search fof natural Uw should not be looked upon as reducing ih 
rsossibility of speaking of God 4 action in contingent events of nature and hbiorv 
Rather, the OCOIIKMc of regularities in the course of events is itself a contingent f w 
k ts generally considered in the Bible as & special disposition by God the Creator 
beneficial arrangement for human beings, because i( renders the world they inhabit 
trliable for them (Genesis *: aa). In tact, the operation of Jaws in the course of events 
is a precondition for every other form of stability in the world of cration, especially 
for the emergence of all enduring forms of created existence. Therefore, human 
beings owe gratitude to the Creator for the creation of regularities thai obey natural 
law*. Nor does j proper concept of Gods miraculous working conflict with the 
operation of laws in the course of future. Augustine defined the concept of miracle in 
relation 10 our human subjective experience as an exceptional occurrence, but not ** 
a violation of natural law. Such a violation or break of law would abolish she very 
concept of natural Taw, since such a law by definition does not suffer exceptions. 
Otherwise there would not be a law. On the other hand, no single law and no system 
law ts exhaustive in governing the course of events Thus there is always room for 
the unexpected (Pannenberg zona). 

In the dialogue of Christian theologians with the natural sciences, and also in 
the Christian doctrine of creation, the concept of contingency deserves a place 
of basic importance This was strongly emphasized, a few years after my own article 
on 'Contingency and Natural Law" (in Mullet and Pannenberg 197©) which 
was written for the above- mentioned discussion group in Germany, bv the 
British pioneer of a new theological re-appropriation of natural science, Thomas 
F. Torrance, in his important book Divine and Contingent Order (19&1). Torrance 
argues, in the line of medieval Christian thought and especially of Duns Scot us. that 
the Christian doctrine of creation basically affirms the contingent existence 
of the world in distinction from God, Contingency characterizes the existence of 
the world as a whole, as well as of each of it* parts. This contingency of the creature 
it the Correlate and expression of the freedom of God hi his activity as Creator. The 
concept of contingency had its origin in the philosophy of Anstodc* where 11 
designated an Aspect of formless matter, wht its indeterminacy and mere possibility. 
But hi Christian medieval thought it came to be related to the concept o( divine 
freedom, and especially to the exercise of this freedom toward creatures, and among 
them specifically to the concept and exercise of human freedom. It is for this reason 
that the idea of contingency is so extremely important in 3 Christian doctrine 
of creation. 


Contingency El also important for an appropriate account of the biblical concept of 
history. Histories were conceived u sequences of contingent events, Th™ events 
could be interpreted in terms of divine a* well as human actions. Their eonringencv 
W31S bound up with the element of novelty. The historical process as a whole was also 
uken to be contingent, particularly in its outcome. Therefore the meaning of each 
event in the sequencr depends on its final outcome, its eschatological future. 

tr s^s an important (Though indirect) contribution to the dialogue between 
science and theology thai in 194a the German physicist (and. bier on. philosopher) 
Carl Fricdfich von Weirsacker presented the big bang cosmology under the title of a 
htflorr of nature' The unity of nature and of the universe was no longer conceived as 
j timeless order of repetitive processes, but as a unique hisinjv beginning with the 
big bang and moving through the production of increased complexity in natural 
forms all the way to the emergence of the human race. Weirsacker emphasized the 
irreversibility of ihis temporal process based on the second law of thermodynamics, 
uhith he called the "principle of the historicity of nature', because it opens up the 
prospect of* process of irreversible changes ( Weizsacker 194*). The reason is that in 
this process en tropy is always increasing in general, though in particular cases novelty 
may occur (i.e. a decrease of entropy), but only at the price of even greater increases 
in entropy in the surroundings. Tins also became the point of departure for the later 
theses of Prigogine and others on the rise of novelty and its lasting effects in the 
course of evolution- 
There wis no difficulty in principle of integrating the evolution of life with the 
concept of a history of nature. The fight about the Darwinian doctrine of evolution 
was one of Ihe most unnecessary controversies between Christian theology and 
natural science in the course of their entire history. It is perhaps understandable 
that the thesis of evolution through natural selection was considered in the late 
nineteenth century by friends and foes as the ultimate triumph of a mechanistic 
description of nature, though in truth it should actually be considered (as with 
G, Altner] as a breakthrough to a new. historical view of nature (Aimer 1986 1, But the 
lasting resistance to the evolutionary doctrine was not only the result of 1 litcralist 
reading of the Bible (in spite of Genesis 1: 11. 24) and of the belief in the constancy of 
natural species after their first creation. Even more, it was due to the observation that 
if the theory of natural selection were correct, there must apparently be a breakdown 
of William PaJey's argument from design. The argument from design had. however, 
acquired a quite inordinate position of importance in the discussion of theology and 
viencetn the nineteenth century Considered from a biblkal perspective, it is at best 
iecondary in importance- Much more important in the dialogue between theology 
and science ts the issue of contingency — both in the broad sense of the contingent 
emergence and existence of everything created and in the more special function of 
contingency as a source of novelty. 

Tin* significance of contingency, however, WW Ukcn into account in \\» t- 
development of rwhitiniw)- theory in (he twentieth century in term* off 
evolution and organic evolution. If the evolution of Hfc if looked upon as * « "T*" 11 
emergence ofever-nrw remit ihnc in no rc»wn for lhroJogun> any longer 7°"*^ 
the theory of evolution. Even in the early history of the debate on I>an • II k**^ 
the conlribiiion to the book Imx AfunJi, edited by Charles Gore in 18^ ri^ 
accJaimed the new theory as overcoming a mecrunisTK view of nature that Irf ' ' 
room for God except as the initial author of the natural order, but not is ■' ™ 
creatively in the tunher process of nature. The circle around Chgfc Gore fbanJ^ 
posfibk to integrate the Darvnnun theory of evolution in a Oimtian conon 'l 
salvation history. J'hu> the Incarnation couJo be interpreted as the oifmmanonclfih 
evatouonoflifcTrujar^^ important Brit, 

th«ilogiAns. inducing William Temple and Charles Raven and, rnorr reccntf 
Arthur Peacock* (1070). A similar conception was developed in the famous ari j 
influcntuU work ol'Teilhard dc Crurdin. 

TTie theological integration of the ranee?! of organic evolution required a rcviuo 
of the theological concept of crcaukin itself, in the theological tradition, the concept 
of creation was connected primarily with the beginning of the world, when. accorX 
ing to the first chapter of the Bihtr. the foundation of the order of nature and of the 
archetypes of crearor^ ms id. This conception of creation, however, did not eaary 
■dm* the emtrgencc of something significantly new in later phase* of the world* 
history. Therefore, in the dispute over Darwinism, the emphasis on the cmuuncy of 
natural species would inevitably clash with the new ide*s. on evolution. That idea, in 
turn, required a vision of a process of continual emergence, through which new and 
sometimes significantly novel organisms arose. 

Evolution fits less easily with an esdusivc emphasis on the beginntng; it harmon 
izes more easily with the idea of a Creator who is continuously and creatively active, 
■s expressed, for example, in P*alm 104 and in various prophetic passages. It was 
therefore with $ood reason that the idea of a continuing creation bxs been increas- 
ingly emphasized by those involved in. the dialogue between theology and sdente. 
especially after the dispute over DajwmaSntf But the emphasis on continuous 
oejuon docs not of course exclude the importance of a first beginning of everything. 
Nor is it opposed to the notion of 'creation from nothing', since that notion simply 
says that the creature did oot exist at all before it was created (<£ Romans 4: 17). The 
notion of rrearu a nihilo, therefore, does no! only apply tp the first beginning of the 
world; it applies to each act of creation of something genuinely new in the history of 
the world. 

When 3 said earlier that the issue of contingency— both in natural and 
wkh regard to rhe existence of the world as a whole—is far mow important m the 
biblical doctrine of creation than the idea of design is, this was not intended to 

S« e& Barbour (1966: 34* £), where, howrtw, the concept of continuing creation ** 
taken to be opposed to emtio <y nihtio, whereas the intended opposition is rather 'anUen in 
the bepnning' 

■ • » Pl . TIt} „ „,„„ „„ MATlc THSOloat 


«tfade Jestfn and purpose completely f rom OUr underMandi rf ft( 

ah*,. God. of the world and with «j„d ,« the coufKrof its hfawiT Tta 
aodoosof dc SlgJ , and purpose are „ ottd m thedesenpfemofourhutnan .nj^A, 
„ ,nv wt «l purpose* for 0*n*lve» reading a ru Iute lh!I , „ j^^ ^ 

present nwiiion, and then ~e lock for mem in order to ralte our purpose ,„ ,h* 
poce, of our aeon Th, s .mage « „„, jp p fopriale ^ ^^ |o GwJlj ^ 
because God * rtcrnaL His p« M r,« „ no, | a£king a ft,,^. G(jd h am ] ^ 

from the begriming of iw 10 j diAant future » w to ict purpose, far his Kiivto 
Nevwhefca. purposive language can be ipP li«| I0 q.^ art ; on h |hf ^ Jj, 
s aauan imolai as the eternal God look. a. hi* ctcation as 4 whole. acro» the 
onirety of .u history. Here, earlier events can be «n as related not oruy to their put 
M abo to ihc Future complrtwn of creation. Pr«em evenb areorknted not only .0 
the future of that own paiticuhr hutory land thus to .he vholene« of their tan ny I 
but abo to the future of the world as a whole, which conditions the wniftctnee of 
each pait With re&>rd to thu constellation, one can affirm an element efpopote m 

P** atJMUon' in the processes of nature and also in the activity of its ontor 

r-mataNd in term* of Gods foreotdination and intetiiions. This dement help* ■<■ 
account for the fact of cohesion m the sequence of emto, is does also the eftteacv of 
roiural hw. But the observation of apparent teleology should never be considered » 
10 allerrwiive «plananon of phenomena, « occurred in the dispute over Darwin. 

Time, Space, and Eternity 

If the reality of the actual world is basically and ultimately charaoeriwd asa iecjucncc 
or contingent evenu, or actual ocumoib' (A. N. Whitehead K then time is Jso 
essenwl-noi just in the domesticated form of a reversible sequence, bui Mber as 
as irrevrrsiWe sequence, where each furiher siep is genuinely new. The concept of 
thw *i irreversible secjurnce already tnvols«s the contingency of event*: if the 
temporal sequence is unique and irreversible, then cadi new moment of time i* 
moral from al! previous ones. It is only within geometric abstraction, where timet* 
spalialized" and represented as a fourth dimension added to the three dirneniiorts of 
Eudidian space, that the temporal sequence may be reversed. In historical processes. 
time is always irreversible. This applies also to the biWical view of reality as a history 
dial moves from a particular beginning to an esdutolngica! end or consummanon- 
Ctoe of the challenges which the modern big bang cosmology {together with tile 
second law of thermooynamks) raised stemmed from the fact that it presented the 
universe as an irreversible process, a 'history of nature', whereas in earlier phase aj 
a Jem science natural processes, ruled by laws, weir considered to be rcvcriJMe in 

principle Once again, then, A U obvious- why modem sciemitk Cosmoi^ 
become so important for the dialogue between theologians and scientists 

In the reality of nature, lime is closely connected \**ith space. Trm u frtdem i ih» 
phenomenon of movement. Time b the more basic concept, insofar a* «. 
relations presuppose some form of simultaneity (even (hough the theory of reljf ■ 
told us that iherr is no absolute simultanciiv^ NYnerthcJas, space is indispmubT 1 * 
the measurement of time. From me heavenly movement* tf Sun ,™d rUoonwh- 
war crucial for measuring daw. weeks months, and wars, Eo the invention of 
artificial clocks, temporal Sequences have always been measured by some form 
sjatifttation. ThU is one of the reasons why the genuine nature of time k> n^ 
escaped the attention of theorists. 

In the dialogue between theology and natural science^ it is very important that 
space and time cannor be reduced ro geometric models or description*— neither ta 
Euclidian space nor to the soacerime concept of the theory of rerativjty. jfe ica^,;. 
that all geometrical description svorks with units of measurement, Each unit j s . 
finite part of spaa? lor timr) and, as such, already presupposes some more compre- 
hensive space (or time). Pnar to the perception or conception of finite spaced 
then, there u always the intuition of space as an innniic whale or of cirne as art 
infinite whole, as Immanuci Kant and. before him, Samuel Clark? argued convin- 
Enjlf. Time and spjee can therefore not be exhaustively represented by geometrical 
models, important as such models otherwise are. Furthermore, the infinite whole of 
space and tame tin their primordial Intuition) is different front the concqwion of 
infinite space (Or lime) that results from the continuous and never-ending addition 
of more and more finite parts. The whole manifests, a priority over every conception 
of pares. 

Why, rhcn, is this issue important in the dialogue between theology and science? 
The reason is that theology has to speak of Gods eternity and omnipresence in hi* 
creation, which involves the question of God's relationship to space and time. In the 
idea of omnipresence, space is deafly implied as the medium within which some- 
thing v. prevm tn ^ntt-body Newton therefore considered space as the medium of 
God's presence to his creatures, each of whom exists at their particular place in space. 
It was in this tense that Newton referred to space as the smsorium Dei in hi* Optak 
laabniz •censed Newton of pantheism as a result, because he understood Newinn to 
take space to be an attribute of Cod. which would mean that God himself would be 
spatial, divisible into parts, and composed out of parts. Against this criticism. Clark 
defended Newton by distinguishing rhe space of God's omnipresence, which is 
infinite and indivisible, from the space of creatures who are composed of juris and 
divisible into parts. The space of God's omnipresence, then, is the undivided infinite 
sp«c which, according to Kant, is the ultimate condition of conceiving of any runic 
spaces, their divisions, and compositions. If the space of God's omnipresence were 
identical with geometrical space, which is composed of units of measurement. 
pantheism would indeed be an inevitable consequence. One sees this result in the 
philosophy of Spinoza, with whom Albert Einstein sympathized jn she twentieth 

MHTIlUrriO.., F .o„ ST.T.IMT.C THSOLOQY j6. 

rhe theory of rate*, detnonstrated that space b no, an infinite and empty 
^depnor ro the existence of the finite bodies that find their places in ,1. »«£,. 

,*| and temporal relations .re dependent on the essence of masses and bJfc. 
StOL always tot presupposed is the undivided and infinite .fan which b prim .0 
even- conception of finite spaces and to all measurement. This makes it possible 
m conceive of ihr space required for divine omnipresence as di^nct frrmi and prior 
l0 the spartal relations of bodies and masses. Simfeny in the case of timer if the 
andivuled and infinite totality of time, understood a* a precondition for con«ivin K 
of finite t.mes and of duration, is prior to the times and durations of finite thima! 
then the eternity of God can be distinguished from, but al*> related to, the tirncVf 
feature* and also to the time of physicists. Eternity is noi timeless, noris it the ewr- 
mciwing continuation of temporal process. Eternity is. as Plotinus said (and 
ftocthiu* after him), the wholeness of life in simultaneous possession'— the infinite 
Bui undivided unity of time, which according to Kant is presupposed in any 
conception of limned and particular times. This also explains why and how the 
eternal God can be present at the particular times of his creatures and at particular 
occasions in their lives. 

Thus, the connection of the eternity and omnipresence of God with thespacesand 
rimes of hi* creatures is of great importance for understanding his active and creative 
Envorvcment with them, ft explains how God can create and preserve his creatures in 
their particular spaces and time*. It also helps to explain how God can actively 
intervene in their lives. Affirming such interventions » uxu^etisable in Christian 
theology. Otherwise theology would end up with a God who may have created the 
universe and its order in the beginning, but who is not further involved with the 
natural course of its processes. To xien lists, on the other hand, the idea of divine 
imeiftruice with the natural course of events has generally met with suspicion, if not 
outright rejection, because it seems hard to iccoficilc with the ^termination of all 
natural processes by natural causes according to the laws of nature. This issue of divine 
interference or intervention in natural processes therefore needs careful clarification. 

God's Action and Physical Movement 

1 pre-modem time*, before the rise of classical physics, there was no particular 
paradox involved in conceiving of the action of God the Creator in connection with 
the movements of his creatures. The creatures were undentood to depend on God 
not only for their existence but also for their preservation, which included their 
ability to act and the exercise of their anions. In their actions— indeed, even in the 
free actions of humans — God's co-operation was considered 1 nctevmry condition. 
J the other hand, God was held to he able to intervene in the course of events 
without the help of secondary causes. 

WHh the rise Pf classical phvtKs, the conditions fnr the interpretation of 
mem changed considerably. Tlie first factor was thai the ArtstoTdun c "^ 
movement, which Abo included qualitative changes, was reduced io local 
cjmlicitry (for example) [)V l 3 >cnrc Gassendi. The second factor was the new j ^^^ 
of inertia, which no longer assumed rest to be the natural state of horiW h ma . 
r -tT severance in sidier a state of rest or of movement. The consequence A- 
nv t\ j» >uch no longer required an explanation, bill only the Alteration nil 

,1 1 m Ol movement or rest Trie reason for changes in Mate (from motion to reV 
vice versa) Descartes attributed to the mutual interactions of bodies and t 
transfer of their movements from one to the other, since God was suppowd 
prCfOTC each creature in its state. God was believed to have created All of his creas 
in a ^pte of movement or re* and to present them, u far as he b conoefned. in th* 
stare. AIJ changes in the world of nature from the original state of attains' 1 1 rh" 
present, then, are due not to divine actions but to the mechanical interaction;, f 
bodies. This mechanistic conception was criticized noi Only by the theologian John 
F. Buddeus, but also by Isaac Newton, as trading to atheistic consequences. This ms 
one of the reasons why Newton devdoped his concept offeree, which as visimpra» 
i* not only a transfer of movement from body to body but could also uxfatk 
iffltnaitiiul forces through which. Newton believed. God's active presence in hi* 
creation was at work. After Newton, however, the spiritual aspect of hh concept of 
force was discarded in favour of the mechanistic model, which did indeed lead to she 
exclusion of Gods activity from the interpretation of natural processes. If all forces 
are to be attributed to bodies, ami only bodies exercise forces upon others, then God 
can no longer be conceived as a source of movements in the natural world. Whatever 
God U supposed to be. he certainly cannot be a body. 

Such ww the impasse in the relationship between theology and natural science 
with regard to the uitexpretation of natural movement- To some, an opening out of 
this impasse seemed to be suggested by the argument from design: many crcaturei, 
along with their complerities and beauties, are so subtly organized rhat their exist 
ence appears 10 be comprebensibrc only as an effect of the intelligent design of a 
creator. Thi* teleologkal argument did not exactly restore belief in the efficient 
activity of God in the processes of nature, however. The question of bow Gods 
design could be realized could not be answered in this way. In any event, the 
Darwinian theory of evolution ruined this recourse to the argument from design. 
The impasse caused by mechanistic determinism could be overcome only by a 
conception of natural force that no longer considered forces in terms of the impact 
of bodies on other bodies. Such a new concept of force was indeed developed in the 
origins of field theory, especially by Michael Faraday. 

The concept of field has been developed in modern physics by Maxwell and 
:iratein, and quantum field theory beyond tu origins in the field of force' concept 
of Faraday. Nevertheless, Faraday's introduction of ihe field concept was an epochal 
Mep. not onlv ,n the Unary of physics hut also with regard to the rcblionship 
between science and theology, because the disengagement of the concept of force 
from fa attribution to bodies marked thr end of the mechanistic description of 


ntfiral procc***- Held became a new foundation,! concept. Far-day already eon- 
ceived of bodily pbenorncn, ,n terms of Md effecis-tha, is. as manife^udns of 
rlddlThi* new paradigm also had the potential to offer a new interpretation ofC 
continuous activity in his creation, in accordance with the biWical concept of the 
dtvinc Spirit and his participation in the action of God 
Tn^masF Torrance (l«o6 9 | I97S ) « lfw firM thea{ ^ n ^ adflpC ^ ^ 

language of phyncs to ihe theological description of Cods Activity in historv and 

in particular to the event of tbc Incarnation. He spokeofthe creator Spirit oFGod" a 

constituting the 'force of energy" of this field of divine activity, this mow erined 

plausibility, m my view, thiough the suggestion of Max Jammer that a historical 

connection e*,sts between the biblical and early Greek conception of Spirit tpntmrni 

mthesenseof arm movement 4 (as in wind, storm. orbreath)and the origins of the 

dern fidd concept in physics, Indeed, this famous historian of science called the 

ancient (Stoic) concept of pntuma 'the direct precursor of the field concern" of 

physics. Since the Hebrew concept of spirit <as in Genesis i: * and Psalm 104: 3 o) » 

dyite similar to that of the Stoic thinkers in this respect, it indeed seems plausible to 

relate the work of the divine Spirit in God's interaction with his creation to the 

modem concept of field, and I followed Torrance's approach in volume i of mv own 

MM* Wmbgy (1991,. When in the biblical creation story it b said thai the 

Spirit of God was moving over the lace of the waters' (Le. the primeval waters; 

cf. Genesis 2), the divine Spirit was conceived as the origin of ail physical 

movement. And when in ihe Gospel of John it is said that God himself is a Spirit 

(lohn 4: 24). and shortly before it is written cf the Spirit that his nature is that of the 

wind that 'blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of ft, but you do not know 

whence tt comes or whither it goes' {* 8), this conception of Spirit is much closer to 

Faraday's concept of a field offeree than io the concept of mind,or 4m, which was 

long considered to be the equivalent of the biblical concept of Spirit. 

Of course, a theological use of the field concept in order to describe Gob * inter- 
actions with the creature docs not exactly follow any particular field theory wfdliJi 

physics, nor even the general form of such theories, the main difference being that 

physical field effects can be measured by waves while God's activity cannot. Ncverthr 

less, there is more than a superficial similarity. For this reason, one need not ipcak of ihe 

theological use of the field concept as a mere metaphor, insofar as the historical sources 

f the field concept reveal a common root in the ancient concept of Spirit. A roett- 

phcmcal dement, of course, is present in the scientific field concept itself, if one assumes 

thai the 'ordinary meaning of the term 'field' is to be found in the fiefd of the farmer 

If the theological adoption of the field concept is Admitted, it can help to make 

understandable how the activity of the Creator in his creation can coexist with ihe 

proper activities of the creatures themselves. The keypresupposition here is that field 

effects can be superimposed upon one another. Specific field* can be regarded as 

manifestations of more comprehensive fields. There is no competition, men. between 

tbe creator Spirit of God and created agencies. Rat her, as the omnipresence of God 

permeates all the space of the creatures, so God's Spirit permeates all natural forces 

and the life of the creatures, and thereby empowers them in their own activities, "Hie 

: work in all creatures; vti to some of than, according ro the fcihhr 
wrtneit, even i share in the Spirit is given. This is the case not only with hum 
also with animals (Genesis i: .»: r. 12K and pcrriap* the abiluv for inden "i^ 
movement provides the reason for this biblical assumption In in* event nin *"' 
nc» isonh a secondary and derivative manifestation of the lift gkinc aOrvfo 
Spirit, even in human bring*- c 

Concluding Remarks 

The issues disenssed in this chapter are important for a Christian doarineofcreaTiofl 

lhat is concerned with tu relationship to aituraJ science- They deaJ with the cow 

presupposition* that axe required for any theological use of concepts derived from 

the natural sciences— just as the biblical account of the creative act of God i a Genca* 

1 rrudc comparable use of the knowledge about the world of nature thai w» jvaiJaWe 

at thar rime, I hffiC attempted such a presentation of the doctrine of era u oi the 

second volume of my Sffttm&k 77ici*kk(i9»i». There the idea of a fast bcginnijigof 

the universe is connected with the doctrine of continuing creation, and this is related 

in turn to the formation of enduring creatures in the process of the universe's 

expansion, which produced a cooling effect that allowed for the emergence of 

enduring forms, We can consider the production of such creatures to be the intrinsic 

aim that was implicit in the act of creation— assuming that a goal of creation waj u> 

bring about creatures thai enjoy a status of relative independence vti-avis God, The 

Chnnian doctrine of creation strongly affirms the relative independence of cica- 

mres — not only with regard to one another, but also with regard to God himself— is 

essential in the act of creation itself. 

The personal difference and self-distinction of the Son in relation to the Paiher is 
the modd for such independent existence of creatures. It is an independence. 
however, that finds its vitisfaction in the free submission of the Son to ihc Father 
and in his communion with his eternal life. This is the special destiny of living 
creatures, and in particular of human beings. Being destined to independent exist- 
ence ttd to a freedom thai is fulfilled in communion with God through submission 
to him is the aim of all creamm; it is a determination to which Ciod sticks even in the 
face of The rinitude of his creatures, of their sin and their death. The eschatologkal 
accomplishment of a new life in cornrnuruun with God, a life that will conquer san 
and death, is the final accomplishment of creation. Ir will affirm and ultimately 
realize the original determination of the Creator to grant Ms creatures an independ- 
ent rusTence in communion with himself This final future certainly iranscendi the 
dialogue of theology vriih science, of course. Still, according to the Apostle, it 
concerns not onh/ human beings, but also the world o{ nature {Romans 8: 19 &) 
which scientists are now exploring. 



Mtnw. G- <i«0M <«U- Dii Writ ah offinm Sytum. rrutfurt: hicher Tachenbueh 
(Union. I Q,U966).tssuam$ciat£ md Rdigfm No, Y«k: ItirMiCelfiat. 

.-sting. I- (^)- C**o* Ttowfeejc A ReFserf OrflDM Thedbjot 0ttaw* [Cnv^u IW 
, .. .orrv, A (W5>- Chao., ZtiHT. ..1 ^h i y F 1u ttp ^„^ r ^cka M lm i e ^ Hmm f^ rm 

4tr Thtrio&ie. Maine tirunewjld. * 

Satur. UutenJoh: MahiL 
Pamatift* V* <i«»t. Spummic Thtvlogy, ii. <;r„»d fc^ Mich . : JUfdmm*. 

I , ,^}. Toward a Thtologr of Afim **y* Pn Srir** * n J faiih. ed Ted Peien, 

Louuviile. Ky.; Wtstimnster/John Knox. 

1 -001). "The Concept of Miracle', Zjrgpn, 37; 7^-61. 

(aftos). "EiemiTt, Time and Space*. Zypsn. 40: &-io«v 

PixcoCKE, A. I tm I- i / rte Hbr/d of Science. Oxford: Oxford tfni*erurr Press. 

Ci9Ml; GtoivmlthtNtn Btolofy. New York HjipnCoILinii. 

Pmgocinh. L < i?So». from fiViflj ro SeowniHg: Time a/rJ Complexity i n rW Hn-*craJ Sne*ft* 

$in f ranciscoc W. H. Freeman. 
— and Stiwgi**, J, 0996). Dialogue mii iin- tar&r, 6th cdn. Munich: Piper. 
RusttU. R. I. (1*8*1. 'Contingency in PJn-siciand Cwmologr: ACrHW of the Theology of 

WelEhart ^annejiberg". Zygpn, aj: 23^0. 

TotRAMai, Thoma% P. ([1969] 1978), Thtokpeal S^iener. Oxford: Oaiord University Press. 

OvBiK Prvrne and Comm$trtt Order. Oxford Oxford University Pre*, 

Wa&£feKe*.C F- von (19^3. DicGtuhkhttdcfNam, GotrtngeitVandenhoecfc & Ruprechi. 








Practical theology h concerned with the life of the Church and the daily life of the 
Christian m both church and sodety. Practical theology is freque tittv dsiingwihcd 
from ipeeuUtivir or systematic theology, where most of the conversation xegarding 
ihe relationship of science and faith has been taking place. The parish pastor or pries. 
provides the channd through which practical theology flows into the life of the 

The charge of the parish pastor or priest is threefold: preaching, teaching and 
*««**%. Of course, there h more to the weekly ministry than ihese three aione. 
Preaching takes place within a planned worship setting with liturgy and die 
Celebration of the Sacraments. Teaching involves administering a Christian educa- 
tion programme and overseeing Bible studio. Counselling i* only ihc core of 
cttavemtfofl taking r bcc during hospiu] visitation, home natation, and numcr- 
ow other opportunities for interpersonal engagement. A -faithful pastor finds 
precioos link time to stop, re*d. think, meditate, pray, and discern. But this is 
the inescapable lot of those who fed thev have been called by the Hory Spirit to 
ordained service. 


K Lhe revolunonnn- new upprocheme.t between «feiK« and Uieobgy provide* 
the p.ri* P«to wnth a treasure ehc* of intcUectual Jewel* tha, co y |dX. InsTr 
^ pre^ng. teacJnns and perhaps even eoun*,| tI , R mitlis(ri * Jo ."£ 
treisiire clicM unopened wouJd he to deny oneself j wr-ibh «»' , r 

maisln , ,. **,,, fo „ r , j, aj; LTSir^ £SS5£S 

science and theology Hut could definitely enhance the dee***, of am J 
inching, if not counselling and pastoral care as wdl 

We will fin. look « floral hermeoeutic* wfeh deludes ,he propherk 
Md I «*»<n.a.« Mb<i preaching. V* wl || l(vn review ^.a,^, 
models of understand,™- the relationship between Be** and fc£ Wf lhj| 
draw upon the muge of warfare and half which advocate peace&l eo-opera.iao. 
I* will give special at.enl.on ,0 .he cootovmj, bounding Darwinkn cvolunon. 
finally wt w.11 lum lo the fitmder of genetic re^ch and .he ethical i^ 
surrounding .he phrase playng God", recommend*^ that fhep«,or demylholo^ 
saencc «bde appropnatmg science to a theological understanding of the sJknn 
which we hve- 

Pastoral Hermeneutics 

Why mighl interest in modern science be of value lo the parish preacher or leather or 
counsellor? After all, the task of a church leader h to interpret the Bible, not natural 
science, let. he interpretation of the Hob/ Scripture* on behalf of listening ears in .he 
contest of the modern world Quires altentioa lo the modem world-view, which has 
been determined primarily and extensively by natural soence. 

Yes, interpreting the B.hlc i> what distinguishes the work of the Christian parish 
pastor. Yet. .he dblnguc with naiun.1 «w can aid the pmtoc j r this Ijsk of 
interpretation, first and foremast in preening. The preacher will need to deal with 
science on two fronts: first, and critically, as a mylh .0 be Inrucended by the 
production of the gospel, and. second, as an essential component in posi-sritical 
WOrtd-view construction. 

To proclaim the Word of God in a sermon in such a manner .hat il becomes the 
Word of God and not merely that of «hc preacher is .he unenviable charge lo .he 
u.nwentwtu pastor. Men the Gospel is preached", God speaks 1 . mif Karl Baiih 
")6 j 12); and the presence of the Word of God makes .he pulpit a acred and 
•wesome place. In order 10 help ensure that ihe Word of God «wr*s through with 
impart, the pastor in Ihe pulpit need* lo allcnd lo two contradiaory or paradoxical 
thrusts within the sermon's structure world-view deroiutruciion and warld view 
constrijction. The first is prophetic the second is pastoral. The firsl is criticai; the 
Kcond is posi^ritical. Lei me Hart by ayiriB a fesv .hings aboul the critical task of 
world. view decoiutruciian. 

God Is mil of this world. God transcends this world. This docs not mean t U 
.lisiaftt; it means that God Cannot be controlled by anything we do or anvil a 
think. God cannot besubnt diluted to anything we believe or imagine. God n^" 
w fiom outside our imagination*, challenging and cracking our pn-vfottsb „'""'] 
tmdctsundinp of ourselves and our world. To proclaim the gospel as God's \L , j 
the preacher needs 10 challenge our this-woHdly assumption* and loyalric* so Out * 
on open oorselves To a message that come* from beyond 

Cultures and Individuals construct in their imaginations world-view* or birr 
of reality thai include the whole world and themselves in it. Such views of r I 
provide the conceptual framework within which we understand our pjscc in 
otherwise immense and mysterious ccismot Yet the God who revealed himself i 
the people of ancient Israel b simply not of ihts world. The God of the f 
oammandmenr— mate no images! — transcends all our images of God. To prod 
the Word of God includes smashing our understanding of how the world works in 
order la rrreaJ A higher reality. God. The preacher, by example and hy message, needs 
to communicate to Ms or her listeners don't trust what you imagine the world to be 
iile; trust God instead. 

Durimj the middle third of the twentieth century When nco-orthodox and 
existential tsi theology reigned, most theologians referred to this as preaching ihc 
'kerygma', or preaching the gospel, accompanied by Ylcmtthologalng 1 , 'Demytholo- 
giving" was f and sail is) an important term. It did not mean eliminating, the Bibles 
mythological worki-vicw and rehiring it with a scientific world-view. Rather, 
il meanl interpreting the message of lesus Christ distinguishable from any world' 
View: Rudolf Hultmann wrote, Its \iit-mythologizm$\ aim b not to eliminate ihc 
m>ihclogieal statements but to interpret them, ft is a method of herroeneuiies 

For this discussion, the word 'myth' is almost equivalent to 'wortd-view; The 
prophctk task or critical task of the preacher is to break through all world-views in 
order for the kerygma to call listeners to personal trust in God. trust m the God who 

transcends this world and Ixarucrnd* our imagination of how this world wuikv 

Preaching consist* of a call to faith, with faith understood as exuicntia! trust in aGod 
who remjtns mysterious and unknowable, even if Uoisrworthy. By 'workf we mean 
our world-view or world of meaning. Weltanschauung. This needs to be destroyed, or 
in post-modem terms 'deconstructed', so that our attention can be drawn toward the 
divine grace that comes to us from beyond the world, The preacher would enter the 
pulpit ready to smash idols— that is. to critically dismember idols in the term of 
ideas or concepts ot beliefe about how the world works. In radical obedience to the 
Urn commandment against graven images, the preacher would proclaim thai God 
comes from beyond all our mental images of this world and confronts us with the 
decision to either hive laith in the transcendent or continue to rely sdolairoudy upon 
nur this- worldly imagination. 

Wortd destruction is the prophetic task of the preacher. What I here oil the 
pmftafc task i* built on Paul Tiliichs Protestant principle, which einphasises 
the infinite distance between God and mart' ( 1^50; 63K B> enticing, challenging 

p"actjcai tiu 

v and trim.s 375 

m to fad. in the infinitely tranKenden. God who ha, revealed the C^self as 
^us in he cross of esus Chrut. he limit ,0 th.s prophetic preaching task I 
A3, it cannot on it, own teD us how ,„ | 1Vc En this wodd. even if it is a world partalrf 
constructed by the human imag.nat.on. Human being* cawiol fo, 0f) , J^S 
basis on prophetic preaching alone Criticism is not enough. We all need to mvumn 
oursclm Within a world th*| l$ pac ked with meaning, existential meaning. Tim leads 
u, ihc ««nd of live preacher's tasks: rurnely. 10 construct a worfd-ricw wW 
J| thinp ^ oriented toward the God of grace. This is the pastoral element in the 

Since the days of Thomas Aquinas, the job of the systematic theologian has 
brcn .o describe alt thing, m the world in light of their relationship to God. This .s 
& rob of the contemporary preacher (and teacher) as well as the theolorun 
The meanir^fulness of the life of every person sitting in a church pew is conditioned 
by the pcture of the world that the prcaehex paints. The preacher is charged with 
the task ol putting a picture of reality that orient, aJI things 10 the God who 
transcends all things. This is a most difficult task, to be sure; yet nothing less a 

Once the preacher has called us out of the world To listen to the eternal kerygrna, or 
Ucjd of God. then the preacher turn* around and calls us baefc ,mo the world with a 
new oriematton. Our response to ihe gospel reorients our understanding of ourselves 
iDdof the world within which we live. This happens whether the preacher isawareof 
h or not. It is better to be aware. 

Implicit in ihe sentences and metaphors and images and aJlusion* the preacher 
employs in the sermon is a description of a single comprehensive reality in which 
both the listener and God arc components. This is as important as it i* inescapable 
The verbal pictures of the world the preacher draws are the primary vehicle for 
evoking a sense of meaning, of belonging, of orientahon. of welcome, of acceptance. 

Language and world-view belong together. The gospel does bring change and 
resulting chnU^, yet the way we language that cMfojge from the pulpit determines 
u great deal The language choices preachers make influence the ihcologkal tindcr- 
standmg* wiih which hearers leave 1 (Rogers 200* 270; italics original!. 

Our concern here is this: what role does modern science play in Mroauring the 
world-view and the language that frames the sermon? Mote what is not being *aid 
here. Our concern U not to demand that modern science provide the content of the 
sermon, The kerygma, or gospel, provides the central content. The role that sdence 
plays is found in the framing world-view, whether lo be prophetically dcmythoJo- 
gired or to become a component in world-view reconstruction. 

science is an unavoidable factor in describing persuasively to virtually all modern 
people jus] how our world works, it is with this in mind that Philip Dayton writes 
while discussing physical causality/ Remember that the question is not how to prove 
that God is active in the world at particular moments, bui rather how to think this 
possibility in a manner that docs not conflict with what we now know of the world' 
U997: w* italics original). 

Scfemx isthcreipungmjth.KBio^ s mt; ( : u-tv the standardi forcndihil 
N - >«nc can 3rvr with a wnsc of truthfulness in a war Id- view thai i* inven I , • 
Ihr pktyre of nature drawn by physicals, chemisu. bmlogfo, *tf « t ^ 
»Oo asumo at ihe level of the conceptual frame will ] "^ 
nnplk.ilv mdiblc io ius or htr listeners; if it is irrr^ndbblr Wrt h Hk **° mt 
crrdil.ilr verythms the preacher say* svfll unncccu^ril), he doubled °* "* 

The Warfare World-view 

Wodd-Wcw constructioa will include two overlapping but distinguishable comeo 
ems li* realm of nature and thr realm of science. Science is oik way to \mZ Z 
nature it is dlninguisbable from nature and worthy of analysis in in own ri s |iL In 
thij section we wfl] a*k lust how might the parish pastor include natural Kkhos L 
ihr worid-view he or she wdu to const met? 

This fergcr question « prompted by a set of smaller question*. Do we want i« 

perpetuate the nidesprcid belief that science and faith M at war with one amoiher? 

Do we want people of faith to fear ibe sciences as threats to religious belief? Dove 

want members of congreganora to suspect that the waendsts who are a | w membert 

may be secretly committed to atheism? Do we want our >*ung people comiderirw a 

niture career to eschew stUoVfng science out of the fear that it mav be of the Devil? 

To address tfiesc questions directly or indirectly in preaching and leaching wiH 

rcqwxe on the pan of the parish pastor or priest ai least a modicum of jqpftoucation 

regarding rust how science and religion in foci reMc to one another Surprising, 

multiple ways of corfflruing the rdatiomhip between science and faith nuke up the 

currency oftoday's exchange of ideas Here we wUI look at eight modeborpatlcrmof 

interaction berween science and faith, suRfiestJnfc directions for p**jnn,l ** mm€m 

and employment <Peters ioo^r di. i). 

Four Warfare Models 

The first four models fit the widespread bclkf—myth. if you will— that science and 
faith are at war. The first model is sdenfum. In the contemporary West, ihe term 
scicmssm' refers lo naturalism, reductiorusm. or secular humanism— thai is v m ihe 
behef that there exists only one reaJitj- namely, the material world- Further, science 
provides the only trustworthy method for gaining knowledge about this material 
reality. Science has an exhaustive monopoly on knowledge. It judges all daims by 
rtltgion to have knowledge of supernatural realities as fictions, as pseudo-knowledge 
All explanations are reducible to secularized material explanations. According to this 
modcL rehgton loses the war by being declared false knowledge. 

"acticai r H T«u«] Micihik 

Pete, Atkn*. at. Oxford chemistry professor. represenU the position. 'My eta* 
ma m **rk and uneornpromismg. Religion is U* antithesis of science; See* 
com? eren. » dhimimte all the d ccp .uestions offence, and does so fa > in Tne" 

my future reconciliation f Aikiiw wr. also Chapter a above) 

Ajrainu scientism. the preacher needs to speak critically and prophecy T^ 
world or SOCTU-sm I, , scaJcd-otT iuu.m! world that f« cb«d fe doors and J n 6nZ 
10 transcendence Not only is n iflto***, it only pretends to be scientific Actual 
ritmeff a research enterprise docs new need thekleoiogyof sciemism. Onec nna « 
perfecilv good sc.ence without adding this ideology of materialism or reduc^nism. 
The preacher can help listeners to distinguish between healthy science and unhe^hv 

foe««>«S model on our list is sdmtific imperial,*,, a dose airy of monism. 
StfaUlfie .mpenahsm doe not ourightly dismiss rdigjon. Rather, il u*o matcnaliM 
nducuomsn to «pbm rclig, 0U5 «penW and ^^^ , hwll) ^ eal <Um 
Sotmfk ^rnpcrMlws gnint «lue to religion an d *&&„, ni ^ x9)u6om w ^^ 
Iter may even K ra„. the nMeicr of God. Yrt, scu-n.ifi, huptrialisU daim that 
sefcna pnmds a method for dkcernm E re&gkMa truth that b superior » that of 
imbtund theology. In contemporaty diseu^ion thi* approach fa taken Kv 
some physical owmologiws OTC h as Pay] Ravk, ind p rank rip ,„ ^^ , ainjn . 
creation or adutology. and by sociologist* such as E O WSftm and Richard 
Dawkuw .n proffenng a biologicaJ «plana,i n for cultural evolution. indudiiBE 
td#on ind eihifti. Here religion i* defeated in the wax by being conquetcd and 


Scientific ^imperialism m«y appear to the preacher like the whore of Bahyl™. tt 
appwrt at first to he .iiiractive, bcauit on the fa« of it jdentisu sav good icdna 
Jboul rfligion. Bui iti cup of ahomimtions is seductive. Once vriihin its grip, what is 
precious to the Christian disappear*. 4 transcendent God, an active God, a graciotu 
God, and a God who is capable of redemption. Prophetic critique is called for 

Now we turn to warfare from the }K«ni of view of the other amy. JEafaiurinf 
JXbomarntmm. our third model, is what every sricmisl fears from (he Church. 
According lo this modd. modern ickna dashes with relipow down, that fa 
authontath-ely supported by ecdesWtkal fiat, the Bible, or in Utm bv the Qu,\ ln 
The best esatnple is Ihe !86a Srflabtv of Errors, promulgated by the Vatican. Here it Li 
isseried that scientific daims must be subject in .he aunWitv of divine reseUnon 
as the Church has discerned It. The Second Vatican Council in v#^ reversed 
Uaik sffrming academic freedom for natural science and other secular disriplmes, 
EidMiasttal authoritarianisra wins the war over -tctence through mteOectnal 

The iwent> ■•first-century pasior is not likely to be teinpted lo defend church 

dogma ignrut an alleged scientific assault as did the Roman CaihoBc Church of 

^ic nineteenth century, to be sure. Yet, the integrity of theologically derh^sJ truths 

obxrvaliori* needs » be explored without the atuckty that science will soon 

aplam ill , u di claims away. The parish leader, in thb drcurraunce, needs M trust 


the truth — that is, trail (kut open And fair discussion of any theological »*-- 
sdeftlilK idea will lead evenlualh 10 edifying truth* and not to anv emb tn* 

far either fain << efKfc Church tcj.ihirtg.siiii4!ior« should cmoracc an mium 
of confident openness and exploration. m Po«* 

Th* War over Darwinian Evolution 

The fourth oi our warfare mooch is ihc bank over Darwinian evolution The hat L- 
fields arc churches public school classrooms, school boards, university lecture hill " 
and ihe courts id the USA. Australia, and Turkey, with utile or no notice in Euro 
Before picking s»des and leaping mm battle nth guns blazing, the pastor shTlw 
pause to see who is fighting with whom about what. For that reason, I will pause h^ 
to provide more detail than I have for the other models, 

[ i»f positions arc discernible, nuking it much more Complicated than the imace 
of a simple war between science and religion might connote. The first position would 
be dwi of evotutwnar)- biology strictly <a science without any attached ideofapui 
commitments The reigning theory is nco~Darwinian. Nee-Darwinism combine* 
Charles Darwin's original nineteenth -century roncept of natural selection with the 
twentieth-century concept of genetic motion to explain the development of new 
eoes over >» billion years. Defender* of Quality science education in the public 
schools mast frequently embrace ihis 'science alone' approach. 

The second position combines neo-Darwmism with the scicnliim mentioned 
above to formulate n materialist ideology. TTuS ideology includes repudiation of am 
divine influence on the course of evolutionary development Spokespersons foi 
"ri***^ bb* u l Q Wilson nd Richard Dtnrfditt, uc aggnssfw ad ,.,-,■., 
ous. Evolution here provides apparent scientific justification forsricritism, scienrirk 
imperialism, and in some cases belligerent atheism, Charles Darwin himself did not 
draw atheistic implications from his science-, writing. 'My view* arc nm ai uD 
necessarily atheistical' {1S8S: 312*. But his disciples do. Harvard gejKtkol Richard 
Levromm (199;) contends that Satnct as the only begetter of truth. „ . Maieriafoin 
is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door 

The third, position is identifie ereationtsm. During the fundamentalist era of the 
1910s, biblical creationists appealed to the authority of ihe Bible to combat the rise in 
influence of Darwinism. Since the 1960s, creationists hare based their arguments not 
on biblical authority but rather on coutMer- science— hence their label, scientific 
crtatumats. They argue, for example, thai the fossil record contradicts standard 
appeals to natural selection over long periods of time. Those known as young 
earth creationists (YEC). such as the leaders of the Institute for Creation Research 
near San Diego. California, hold that the planet Earth is less than 10.000 years old and 
ihat all specks of plants and animals were originally created by (k>d In their present 
form They deny macro-evolution— that is. they deny that one species has evolved 
mom prior species— -although they affirm micro-evolution— that is, evolution within 

t^rriCALTHfiOlOCVANDBrili, , 


a tperfet Key here is that creationist, justify their argument* on soenhne grounds 

the fourth position h inutlfrtt ,/,,,.. Advocates of intelligent design rfurply 
«** netviJarwmian theory for* Ihe rol, of M|unu wlecfnn m mfe 
formation. They argue that slow incremental chafes due ,0 mutation, coXcd 
rth natural sckebon are ,mj.fce lc m to explain the emergence of new and more 
.MBjto hotofKftl systems. Many of the life forms that have evolved ,rr ineducibiv 
complex, ,md this counts as evidence thai they have been intelbgentjy defamed 
Intelligent design scholars such as Michael Behe, Philip lohnson, a n d lflL. 
TJonbtb posit thai appeal to a transcendent designer is necessary far the theory of 
erolunon co si^fuhy explain the development of Bfe fomts _ HffC ^^ 
questions lead to theological answers. 

The fifth potion is theistk mlutiea. according to which God employs evolu- 
tionary processes over deep time .0 bringabow the human race, and perhaps even ,0 
carry the natural World to a redemptive future. Tbeiaic evolution first appeared n 
the bte ainetttfltn and early twentieth century even in the work of conscrnhvc 
Pruiccton thcofogran B. U. Warfirid. for whom Gods c^^mi^ wch nature brourfit 
about thchbnun race, just as God's wwwaa wrote the Scnpturcwiih human minds 
aod hands. Tctlhard dc Chardm is perhaps best fcnown for his evolutionary eosaot 
0|y d.recteci by God toward a future 'Point Omega . Among comemporarv scholars 
* work in the Held of science and religion, the roster of iheistic evolutiorusts ineludes 
Arthw fococfo Philip Hefner. Kobert John Russell. Nanccy Murphy, Kenneth 
Mdler, fohn Haughc. Marunea Hewlett, and Howard van Till. This school of thought 
is not occupied wjth defending evolution against attacks bv advocates of scientific 
ereationLsm or imelligcnt design; rather, h seeks to svork through questions raised by 
randomness and chance in natural selection in light of divine purposes and ends 
(Peters and HewSett aooj; Russell ef at 1998). 

It is my view that the best of these alternatives is theisiic evolution. Along with 
im luUcasjue Martinez Hewlett, we argue that the biblical tcstimonv that God 
cteajes new things indicates that Gods creative activity i s ongoing. We affirm creuto 
araririiii 1 along with a*** « nikth, setting us apart from ihe soenufic creationists. 
We further affirm that God has a purpose for nature thai cannot be discerned 
scientifically within mtuni and this sets us off from intelligent dc^gn- We believe 
Jut the purpose for the long story of evolution will be determined by. and m-ealed 
by, the advent of God's promised new creation (Peters and Hewlett ioot do. 7% 

Owl a war over evolution is being fought h clear. However, because the actual 
points ai issue dcai specifically with the explanatory adequacy of natural selection, ic 
would be misleading to dub this simply a war between science and religion. I here 
stress the point that what the parish pastor needs to know it thiv; despite ttk : « I ihat 
superficially this looks like a battle between science and faith, deep down it is not. All 
combatants revere and respect science. It is in essence a battle om what constitutes 
good science, A parish leader who views this as a bailie of science versus raith and 
who tufces the side of faith docs so only at grave peril, 

Four Non-Warfare Models 

We have just trvicwed four w« of understanding the r«Ja tranship brt WPcn 
2nd faith in terms ofwtffioc scicntitm, Kkntffic imperiaJisrn. ecdwiastical aT"^* 
uuiiniam. and the battle over evnlutiort But warfare is not the only \ r h "* 
*■!.; h Son* Bl this relationship fa fur the image of warfare couM be m *,|j I " 
An imapc of peattlAial Doatfid between science an J religion t* iiupnropriar "* 
gm Jing pjfedpK write fohn Hediev Brooke (1901; »>. In ihe comemporL d "h? 
wide conversation* between scientists and nHtpJoiis thinkers, at Jeaa f 
warfare ox co-operative models have emerged Any or all of uW could foul 
material for ihc pariah pastor to use in ajrwracting a meaningful worlds™ ^ 
tnctadt* modern science. 

Ine first and rm»i widely embraecil model for relating scinicc and reHa^ * ,&, 
n*v Amp*** model According to this model, idcncc speaks one lang^t- 
Unguage of facts, and rdipon speaks a different language, the language of vaJ Ul 
TTic TW lanpwpe modd-tometimes referred to is the 'independence models 
the prmffiog view of both scientists and theologians in Western and Ataan uitcflec 
tual life. Science attend* to objectm knowledge about objects in the penultimate 
realm, whereas religion attends to subjective knowledge about transcendent dime* 
nonsof ultimate ce&tiecn. Modem pexsoas need both, according to Albert Einstein, 
who claimed the fo-bWag: Science without religion is lame and tcligmn without 
sciences i (1982:4*). Warfare is avoided by estabrishinga border and keepEr« 

science and faith in their respective terrisories. 

This two language* mode! should not be confused with the classic mod*t D f the nw 
boats* according to which the book of Scripture and ihe book of Nature each provide 
an awiuc of revelation for God (Hew 2003). The difference ss that the tiro books 
model see* science as rewafing Truth aboui God. whereas the two language model 
sees science a* revealing truth wlcly about the created world. 

Already many preachers rriy on ihe two lamjutge model when exporting bibliial 
trtts nicfa as the Genesis creation accounts. After grasping for a few possible 
connection or crossovers between Genesis and big bang cosmology or Daruinfan 
evolution, ihe preacher typically elects to say that science telk us whit happened 
while the BiWe telis us what it means. This is perfectly legitimate. ll is safe, and 
tttokctory. It docs nor risk losing any credibility. It provides an accessible safety /one 
within which to present the biblical message unencumbered with otherwise difficult - 
to- answer questions. 

For many scholars in the dialogue, however, the two languages model for 
keeping the two independent of one another is inadequate. It is thcoreticaJly 
inadequate from the point of view of the theologian. The theologian asks: If it fa 
true thai the God of Israel it the creator of this world, and if it is true that natural 
UCDTJas arc gaining accurate knowledge of how this world works, |hep, sooner or 
later, w c would expect to sec some convergence, or at least consonance, between 
the two domains of knowing. 

PKACtacaa ruBotpg! a.v<> mires ft 

Ttofa* to the W « non-warfare model, hypc^ical enscnanc, Go™ b«*| 
Ulc two lame view hr «uming an owfcp brt^ the sucnect-matler rf£« 
ma <h< ..hevt-mauer of frith, conumanc* directs inquiry loward ^ of ^ 
pondence between what can be sad xicmiricdly about the natural *™U . 1 u 

«« m some arcs, «*h as the apparent orrespondence of big bang o^moloftv wi h 
» doctrmc o, Cr«Uo„ cut nothing. coa» nan( :e h„, no, bin LfinJdK' J 

do^mo, truth *hc cre Jlc d world. .„d ^encc , t it, to, , n d faixh ,, £ 
tot both humble ihanxKct brfcr, tru.h. It f || owv Acn> „„, „„ 5fwu)d [r ' 
co^nance W orntuaily ^ncrgc. H> T0 *cii<J ccmsormnce P rovid« ,bc b«is for 
rt.1 »mc «fl duloguc bwween 5,c C and Acoloj,' md other, ,„c ■ C r«liv T 
mutual interaction of science and Theology'. 

It fe ^propria* to a^ the P r«cher to engagf hyp«hrrt«I con*o„ an « bceauic 
» httlr .n .he lypKJ samon B of a hrpwhcical charade Hypo,he«s arr for 
iChobn who wplcre new .dras; seonns occosiorallv. though rarely, do Ihk Pcrtam 
Mlut could inhm mo. would be 3 background of uni a,d , w in the tab 
mtin thr (Tilth whom* it may be fo und . The sermon could carr,- ,hc mood thai 
truth. C,TTl rfuncuthfd by a scienta,, could be celebrated by a per™ of Giith 

The llurd non.war&r, modeL and number seven on oui comprehensive lid. i, 
M mvrUp. Budding on the two timgiugcs modd. v/her,™ railllla , tp[pKt 
between vuntuu and rcl.glou, leaders is affirmed, wme exptas a strong desire for 
rehgHM* co-operanon on public policy issues deriving from science and ledmok-Ry 
The Kobgnl cn 5 .s and human values questions deriving from advances .n genetics 
both enlist creative io-operation. 

Pope lohn XXIII told us in Pflorm „r unit thai Roman Caiholia could n»ke 
pannrn- wtd, "all pan oTjood nflP when working for world p««. Worldng whh 
all pnw of good will in the community or around .he world-cm, scienmu of 
gwd vnU-to make our planet a better place in every respect ought to be the d*lv 
oitt of any Chrislian congregation. 

Thb brings us to the final example on our list, number eight. New Age aintuslxv 
Hiving left the conflict or warfare model behind, synthetic spiritualities, such as 
Itiosc found .n At New Age movement. s*e)< to construct a world-view that inte- 
gntcs and harmonize, science with religion. Esolution becomes an orerarchmg 
concept that mcwpor*t« the sense of deep time and imbues the development of a 
glotal spmtual consciousness as an evolutionary advance for the cosmos. Mam here 
sre prompied by the visionary theology of Tcilhatd de Chaidin. aldwuch ih^ levuic 
forerunner could not himself be cateBoriwd as New Age. Others in the New Age 
novemen. wk IO tate ^ te the rapcncnw oimpterr at6aami in Hinduism and 

Boddfusm with advanced discoveries in physic*, such as indeterminacy andijuantum 

Ultoty fPeters i^i). 

imE! "^ ph) "' ks o( thc Nw *& % "" Mtnct «""e pastors nod «pd others. 
AJUTougn some Western scientists and many Eastern scientists resonate with Ness 

\$c srurilualitv. ft is generally held in academic disrepute because it Ut-i^ ,t , 

found in both socntifi 

ic research and classical Christian theology, Eihial m 
with spccud crophasn on Mokgy would be the domain most Ubch vkuJn p 

Ajfcre arid pastor*. ' ^ ^ ^ 

The Problem of Scientists Playing God 

One dramatic component of the reigning sdenrifie world-view is discernibly nmh 
ical. namely, the concept of playing God: In fact, the concept of playing Cod is fedf 
a survival of the classiest Greek myth of Prometheus. In ihe modem .scientific sett 
this myth takes tlie thinly disguised form of Faust. FranJccnstein, or Jurassic Park, -pi 
parish preacher and teacher need 10 be aware of the actual myths within the wonU 
%inv. u- thjr dcnmh.^.i^.-irv jhcNc^ci.urK nr-ili on become pari oj Aehenoen- 
cuticaJ process. 

Public policy comroverwes, as w can ail sec. invoke abhorrence of playing God' 
The phrase p!ayin ? God" refers to the power thai wiener confers upon the human 
race To understand and to control the natural wadd. Even though the phrase >Iaynt 
God' is by no means a thcolopcaJ phrase, it sounds like one; and people within the 
churches wflJ ask about its meaning and significance ( Peters 2002). The pastor needs 
to be prrpared to answer. 

Upon close examination, the widely used phrase playing God' seems to connote 
three overlapping meaning*. The first is connected to bask scientific research- to play 
God ts to fazrrr God's awesome secrets. The second is found in the hojpiul. It connotes; 
the fret that doctors haw gained the power over life and death The third refers 10 the 
ability of scientists 10 aim life and influence human vvhmon. 1 his meaning is bet 
expressed in the story of Frankenstein, the mad sefenrisr who violate* an invisible 
boundary and crosses over into the sacred realm of nature: then nature rises op 
wmge"jlly and unleashes death-deal. ng chaos. Oyr society fears the mythical mad 
scientist, who by violating nature nun- cause a backlash that will lead to suffering on 
the pan of us al. 

We assume here that scientific undcrsunding leads to technological control. We 
want control Yet we doubt our own wisdom to know how to use this control. In our 
attempt to gain control over nature, we may so violate nature that it will lash back 
with destruon-e force This fear is moil associated with genetics and ecology. Genetic 
engineering, wherein we alter our genome and perhaps alter our own essence, is die 
primary area of science that provokes fears of playing God, Such fears »Uo arise tn 
ecology, where we worry lhat civilization may soon pass the point of no return and 
the environment wiil poison the human race into extinction. 

I have suggested above thai wc are talking here about myth, about ihe place «■ 
science in the contemporary world- view. In this case, an actual mythical stury is M 


„«* Our W of*c phrase rkvmg God" rches orv , he Jnacnt ^ 
Prometheus According to this myth, when the world was being created the skr! 
H ^ was in a cranky mood. The ton god in ,he Olympiad decrded to withhoE 
fir* from earths inhabitants. cori«gmng the nascent human race to reunites* cot 
Ml darkness. Prometheus the Titan, whose name means to think ahead" „hiI 
foresee fe value of fire lor warming homes and providing lampugm for reading U* 
« night. He could anocipatc how fire could distinguish humanity from the beasts, 
making it ptwible to for* tools So Prometheus craftily snuck up into the heavens 
where the gods dwell and where the Sun is kept. He fit his torch from the fires of the 
Sun, then h<? earned tins heavenly gift back to Earth. 

The gods on Mount Olympus were outraged that the stronghold of .he immortals 
bri been penetrated and robbed. 2c« s was particularly angry over Prometheus, 
hubr* so be enacted merciless punishment on the rebel. Zeus chained Prometheus to 
a rock where an eagle could feast all day long on the Titan , liver, The head of the 
pantheon cursed the tuture-oriented Prometheus: "Forever shall the inioleriMe 
present gnnd you dawn.' The moral of the story, which is remembered to the present 

day, is thiK human pride, or hubris that leads us to 

overestimate ourselves and enter 

Ihe realm of the sacred wiH precipitate vengeful destruction. The Bible a 
provide a version of the same point: Pride goes before destruction (Provrrhs* &} 
For us in the modern world who think scientifically, no longer does Zeus play the 
rale of the sacred. Nature has replaced the Greek gods. It is nature that w.11 strike back 
in the Frankenstein fegend or its more extemporary gencticimd version. Michael 
Crichton's novd Jurassic Kirk (1990) and the subsequent movies. The theme has 
become a common one; the mad scientist exploits a new discovery, crosses the line 
between life and death. *nd then nature strikes back with chaos and destruction. 

Interpreting the Gene Myth 

How should retigiout leaders interpret thU classic myth as it influences contempor- 
r, culture? Should rhe parish pastor believe the myth? Should the parish pastor act 
Ottl of the world-view of this myth? Or should the pastor danyihotosuze? 

One thing to observe is that the God of 'playing God' is not necessaril v the God of 
the Bible, Rather, it is diviruied nature. Jn Western culture nature has absorbed the 
qualities of saeretincss. Science aJong with teehnolog)- risk profaning the sacred. 

Decile the act that this myth deals with a god other than the God of the Bible. 
numerous religious leaders have embraced it; and they have taken up rhetorical arms 
against science, A naflo task force report, Human life and the Sew Genua, indudes a 
warmng by the VS National Council of Churches; Human beings have an ability to 
do Godlike things: to exercise creativity, to direct and redKect processes of nature. 
But the warning also imply that these powers maybe used rashly, lhat it may be 
better for people to remember that they are creatures and not Rods." A United 
Methodist Church Genetic Science Task Force report to the 19*2 General Conference 
«utcd similar ly: The image of God. in which humanity is created, confers both 

power and r«ponwbilm m | tv pom as God oW neither by coercion nnr iv 
but by loiv. Failure 10 accept &»*» by rejecting or ignoring uxounuhilitv tT* 
and interdependent! with the whole of creation w ihcesseiKeofwn/ln th h 
Christian leaders the myth leJk us thai we an tin through science hv^U^^ 

reco^ncM oui tiroiu. and thereby violate the sacred, ' ^ to 

However, there i* an alternative route one can tafce. As noted above mw 
(Elong with ecology! " ^ fidd of research that provokes the meat anxiety r™^* 
the Ihreal that sejoiiuti will pUy God. This is because DNA ha» earnrrcd In 
reverence The human genome Jus become tacitly identified with the oatm^ 
what i> human. \ person's itultviduaUtv. identity, and dignity have becohT^ ** 
Dccted to bif or her individual pcnoittc. Therefore, if wc hive the hubris to i^erT" 
in Ihr human genome, wc ruk * iobling something sacred. This tacit belief J^Zt 
hy wme the 'sene myth', by others 'the Strang genetic principle'. « r gcnc ^ ^^ 
tuli«n Trm mnhcroe—a mini-niylh within the larger Promethean myth with. 
the still larger world-vim of science— provides an interpretive framework thai 
includes the assumed senility of the human genome combined with the feJof 
Promethean pride. 

Hbs preacher and teacher in the parish setting should critically, if not pronh«j c 
ally, question the gene rrryth. Doubt should be registered about the equation of DNA 
with human essence or hurt™ pcrsonhood A person is more than huorher gentfc 
code. The National Council of Chmches of Singapore put it tins way m A Christen 
Response to iht Lifr Sciences: It hi a fallacy of genetic determinism to equate the 
generic makeup of a person with the person' {2002: 81). No person is reducible 10 r,b 
or her genome. No person is a victim of a thoroughgoing genetic determimsm. At 
some le-wrf, this cultural myth needs demythologizing. if not dewientiAng, if the 
F l nsh pastor is to move people to a reasonable and healthy understanding of human 
nature in light of our faith in God. 

Genetics, Ethics, and World-view 


In the pastoral setting, incrcaungjlv parishioner* will come to their clergy for counsel 
and advice on genetic issues. Initially; couples planning to bring children in!n die 
world will visii their genetic counsellor at the dinic and then sliow up on Ok pef 
doorstep for further discussion. Pastors will need to understand the imbf between 
pistoraJ and ethical concerns th« will come in a single package. Stem <dl therapy. 
electing genes for nature children, altering genomes, aborting defective foetuses, and 
envisioning a generic future for children will appear on the lis! of concerns. The 
parah pastor needs to be ready. 

mcwc#* Tuiotnoy Atp grate, ^ 

Here, wc wii look .t one of the iw u« that might confront the pastor whkh 
^htne. .ounsejlmg and e.h,«1 «« n , mf|v ^ ^^ ^ .* and genetic enhancer^ In addition to appHPta g u a ? Lrd rnJSS 
ika a public policy issue. '"' " ,5 

^ploymenl of advancing genetic technology* Io ^„ hm ^ , 
Moderation* regarding .he dutinction between the^ anJ ^ kitKrm(nt A| 
fint glance therapy '«,,,. lmUh M e cthi«U,v where* enhancement seem, Z£. 
thean .»d dangerous, IT* i«n "gene therap/ refers to directed g tflrtic d,^ of 
human WWtlc cells 10 treat . genet* disease or defect in a living person. \V„h £» 
,„ fcooo human diseases inceable to ^ctic predispositfons^ystk fibrosis Hun- 
ti^oi s dt^sc. Ahh»«r». many atttis-dic pn^ea, of gene-b«d th.r.p.cs 
nrc ra «.ns hopes for drmutK : new medial advices. Few ir any find ethKai * di 
for prahaiitmg wmate cell therapy via gene manipulation. 

The term 'human genetic enhancement' refer, to the u. of ge „flic knowledge and 
technology to bnng about improvement* in the capacities of livinjj pcfw„s m 
ernbt)-^ or in fulur* gefterataru, Enhanc^cn. mi^h, be accompfehed in ani of 
WO ways: cither through genctk sdeaion during scaring or through directed 
gttettc change. GcnetK idection may uk* pkee a, the gamete stage or. more 
commonly, as embryo selection during pn-impknutiot. parte dtagno S « (PT.p* 
foDowtng .n v,rr d ferdJiMtion (IVF). Genetic changes could be introduced into carry 
cmfcryos, thereby mflucndng B living indmdu.nJ. or by altering t^e germ liJ 
mtiueneing future generations. 

Some forms of enhancement arc becoming possible. For cample, uttrcduoion of 
the gene for IGF-i tnto rnoscle ccfc results in increxsed musde sucngth and health. 
Such ^Procedure wouW be valuable- as a therapy, to be >ur C yet il lends itsdf «o 
avi.bbihty for enhancement as «-eU. For those who daydream of so-called designer 
babies, the hst of traits to be enhanced would likely include heitft and intelligence. * 
nd as preferred eye or hair colour. Concerns raUcd by both 5 e«Ur and religious 
ttrnca, focus on economic justice-thai i s , wealthy faimlies are more blery to lake 
advantage of genetic enhancement services, leading to a gap between the genrich' 
and the 'gen poor". 

The most ethical heal to date has been generated over the possibility of germ line 
rvention. and thii applies to both therapy and enhancement. The term serm hue 
uilcrvention- refer* to gene selection or griie change in the gametes, which in turn 
•wuld mduence the genomes of future generations. Because the mutant form of the 
gene that predisposes for cystfc tibrosii hasbcen lOOledon diromosortie a, wc could 
imagine a plan to select out this gene and spate- foture generations the suffering 
earned by this debilitating disease. This would constitute germ line alteration I 
thaapeube motise*. Similarly, in principle, we could sdect or even enginect genetic 
predispositions to lavourable tints in the same manner. This wouW connitute germ 
line alteration for enhancement motives. 

Such efforts at genetic engineering arc risk)-. Too much remains unknown about 
gate function. It Is more than likely that gene expression works in delicate systems, so 
that H j, rare thai j single gene tt responsible for a single phenotypkid expression, If 

we remove or engineer one or two ffam, we may unknowingly ur*<*ancntirc *)*,„„ 
of gene interaction that could lead to unfortunate consequences. The prohihiii .,» 
against 'playing God' serve* here « fl warning 10 avoid rushing in prematurely with 
what appears to be an improvement but could turn out to be a disaster, lithiciu* 
frequently appeal xo the precautionary principle— that is. to refrain from germ line 
modification until the scope of our knowledge is adequate to cover all possibk 


It is important to note that the precautionary principle dews not rdy upon the tack 
belief in DNA as sacred. Rather, it relics upon 4 principle of prudence thai respect* 
the complexity of the natural world and the finite limits of human knowledge 


The parifrh pastor or priest couW be motivated to invest time and energy in the 
worldwide dialogue between science and theology out of pure curiosity, or even out 
of a desire to enhance the effectiveness of his or her own ministry. I have tried to 
show here shit three areas of pastoral responsibility— preaching, teaching, and 
counseling— coutd aU benefit from increased sophistication regarding the sdentinc 
picture of the world in which we live. By no means do I suggest that science provide 
the content of what the preacher or teacher or counsellor says yet, for the sake of 
credibility and relevance, what is said should resonate with what is unsaid about the 
scientific world-view we ail shart 

References and Suggested Reading 

Atkins, P. <tW7). 'fcehgmn the Antithesis of Science; Omdstry urni Industry. 20 i lanuary): 

■Comment section. 
a**™, K. (1961). ThePtcackingofthe Gospel Louisville. Ky.: tYVsminMer/Jonn Knox Pre**. 
Brooke. I H. 1.199! ». Science and Rttr&on: Some Hiitmed perspective* Cambridge: 

Cambridge University Press. 
Bcitmann* R. (195&). low Christ and Mythology. New York Charles Scribner's Sons. 
Cmyiov, P. 11997)- God and Contemporary Saenee. Grand Rapid*. Mich- EcfdrnanL 
Darwin. C fiSSfi). 77ir lift and Utters 0/ Charles Darwin. Including an Aubahographiad 

Chapter, Li, ed. Pranos Darwin. London; Pohn Murray. 
EiKfntaY, A, (19UL ideas and Opinion*. Kcw York Crown. 
Hc«. P. M. I- frml 'Cod'* Two Books Special Revelation and Natural Sdentc in the 

< hmiun West', in Ted Peter*, Gavmon Bennett, and Kant]. Phee Seng (eds.), Hndpng 

Science and Relt&on, Minneapolis Fortress Press, 1x5-40. 

--C-J4T1N. It ( 1997)- Review of TTic Demon Haunted MirMby Cart Sjgjn, NnV York Review of 

^ 14i h, {199s J. Hiftaty of Modern Lreutumum. 2nd edts. Santce, Calif,: Institute 
Crfa(10 n Hescjrch, 
iCTiil Council of Churches of Singapore (aooi). A Otriinan Response to thr life Scitneex 
%tmpore: Gennb Books. 
W ^X li95"K TtteCennticSeif, San Francisco: HarpcrCoIiins, 
j ( 2rJ oiK Playing Cod? Genetk Determinism tmii Human frrtdom. New York and London: 

( . 0& jj, Science. Theology, and Ethic*. AJdeahot: Ashgatt. 

&rul HlwuiTT. M. UovjK Erafiiritfrt (rem Creation to New Creation. NnthviBc; 


. j q (joo.>). 'What and Haw of North American Lutheran Preaching'- IHaloji, 43/4! 

1 SKLU R- U SfOUGER, W, R., and Avala. E I {1998). Bfotutitmary and Molecular Biology: 
tnirfJc PeftpeertYtf on Divine Action. Vatican City Suit: Vatican Observatory; Berkeley: 
Cento for Theology and the Natural Sciences. 
Tiluch. P. < 1959 J- Theology of Culture, ed Robert C. KimbaD. London and New York: Oxford 

mivcnitv 5'res% 






The outstanding efforts that arc being made by scientists, philosophers, and theolo- 
gians to disseminate the essence of the science and religion dialogue to the general 
public have raised the awareness of people in the pews to the imparlance of this 
debate in the modem world. Nevertheless it a not easy for a congregation to know 
how to engage seriously with this field if ihcy have neither a scientific nor a 
philosophical background. It is not necessarily evideni thai this debate cm have a 
podfe impact on the spiritual growth of US all. Growth in spirituality is important 
because it is the underlying reason behind the religious practice of most ordinary 
worshipers. In general, theological treatises become relevant to us only when they 
relate directly to our personal life experience. 

The aim of th« chapter b to demonstrate to naMpttioliM* thai science iwdt en 
provide a profound basis for meditation, using a scries of short vignettes Out ■««« 
questions relevant to our everyday lives. Meditation often begins by focusing 
on something beautiful -uch as a flower or a shell— with i Utile iftfcmWltal U «■ 

KiuakV possible to use a mathematical concept or a molecular interaction to tad us 
. j^p nerTection and even contemplation. Reciprocally, the aim k to show that the 
I ,1! spiritual insight can bedirectly relevant to the practice of science, Insights 
frornrcligiou* experience and praais, such as enlightenment or the dark night of the 
: 1 have their parallel' in the scientific enterprise. Scicniific insights do not threaten 
feliiioui practice, but ifutcad provide a means by which we can re-examine our 
beliefs and mature tn our comprehension of the Almighty. 

Ml ho ugh there i*a common search for truth, science and religion ,uc not entirety 
inalogou*' T"* methodology by which data are acquired is different and the factors 
that constitute 'proof" are not the same. Although we can enhance our view of the 
world- by engaging with either or both, it is unhelpful to extrapolate literally from one 
10 the ether- It is particularly urtadvisable for theologians, because a particular 
scientific world-view wiB change with time, and it is essential to develop a theology 
that is consistent with our current knowledge of the world but not dependent on it 
Theology itself has little to say about the scientific method — but it provides a basis 
for the personal and ethical development of the scientist, and is a means of attaining 
the maturity required for the practice of science. By the same token. Holy Writ it not 
handbook for scientists, who do not, on the whole* conduct their science by 
talcing account of data extracted from Scripture. Science measures reality in terms 
of reality- Religion deals with the interaction of reality with abstract values and 
concepts. It addresses the attempt of the created work! to interact with that which 

is not material. 

In contrast to a commonly held view, many scientists practise their religion 
without compromising, their scientific thinking. It is certainly challenging to hold 
ip tension iiuights from both areas of life without compartmentalizing them to avoid 
conflict; but, then again, becoming an integrated person is one of the great challenges 
in life. There is no question that there arc ideas in science that are inconsistent with 
the teachings of religion, and vice versa; but such data present an opportunity as well 
as a challenge, and point to the need for further exploration. 

Modern biology, philosophy, and religion pose many o^iestions. including those 
which are addressed in this reflective chapter. 

a. How do humans cope with the enormous complexity of their lives, tind purpose 
pod meaning, and make decisions? 

b. How do we find an answer to the question, 'What is creation fori' 

e. Can the concept of God be valuable to us even if wc arc not describing a material 

ti How far are we controlled by our genes, by the initial condition* of the universe. 

or by a God who has predetermined everything? 
e. Can we understand how to work in partnership with God. and nature? 
/. How do we move forward decisively when we have only partial information* 
g. How does the creative process happen? 
k How do order and disorder relate to creativity? 


r in »' «-... 

i How do W deal with T J,n lnd *"** 

j. What pCTMinal qualities IX required in nrder lo engage effectively with science or 

fc U arching for answm ir> questions a way to lose one •. faith? 

Simplicity and Complexity 

The universe in which we stand is both elegantly simple and breath-ukingly «mi- 
pkx. It is simple enough for us to penetrate the mathematics, physks. chemistry, and 
biology that underpin the existence ot everything from the small«t fundamental 
particle to the owst eomplieatcd of living organisms. It is compla enough for m to 
be challenged to describe and captain the seemingly infinite number of ways in which 
me base building blocks of matter can be combined to achieve unique, functioning. 

jcntiem. emergent forms of life. 

Moreover, the universe is bolh unified by the fundamental constants that constrain 
all that BD0B, and diversified by ihe spatial Bad temporal location of matter and the that such singularities allow. The simple and the unified give rise to 
Ihe compla and ** diverse. A tna,cr undertaking for modem biology is to explore 
th c boundaries where the simple and ihe complex relate co-operatively with cadi 
other so thai new properties and functions can emerge. An example of this is the 
•immunological synapse", where cells infected with pathogens interact with patroCinji 
T-cdb dut give inductions lo thc infected cell lo die. Although the P .op.rt,« m 
'rules' which govern the behaviour of the complex interactions at ihe ceil junctions 
do Ben iransgress those of the faidiviJu .1 molecule* that form the synapse, il is dear 
ihat Bring organisms depend on the integration of 'simple entitle* mio Urger more 
'complex' nuchinerics- 

Decision Making 

Human beings too arc both s,mple and complex. Vk live in a glorious techn.colour 
«o,Jd in which we somehow deal decisively with the messines of evyyday hlc on a 
minute r«-minuie basis despffe the complexity of ihe infomuiionihat ho* drives 
and informs m. Our most basic decisions arc guided by ihe powMuie* and limit* 
Ikni imposed by our genes and environment. The metabolic qWew *.i« beep MT 
bodies alive, thc repair mcchamsms thai enable us tn survive environmental insults, 
and our immune fpiens that combat disease operate largely without any consent 

ttrvfjUion by us. according to principles thai we can increasingly understand. These 

—j ^import our continued existence, whether we like it or not- 

HoweVeT, Living a fulfilled human life is far more complicated than simply 

remaining *l>vt ** individuals we need to became integrated info an even more 

It.* W( >rtd. *o Tnat we nmJ a ™ cnc w h*™ wc can nourish physically and 

Our cultural environment teaches us how to relate to others and 

-^ ^j |^ c practical skills and materials for learning what we need to deal with 
[he complex world of work and family. Perhaps these cultural values give us the 
AfiC wc fi«d to persist in ihe face o